What is Acne?
Acne, or acne vulgaris, is a common long-term skin condition characterised by areas of whiteheads, blackheads, oily skin, and inflamed spots generally on the back, face or chest. The condition is more commonly seen in teenagers and young adults between the ages of 11 to 30.
What causes Acne?
Acne is caused by an overgrowth of P. acnes bacteria on the skin. It is linked to changes in hormones such as during puberty, but it can start at any age.
Hormones control the amount of oil released from the glands near the hair follicles and when these are produced in excess, it can aggravate the normally harmless bacterium P. acnes, resulting in inflamed skin.
Acne can run in families and hormonal changes during menstrual cycles or pregnancy can cause acne in women.
What are the different types of spots?
There are six main types of spots that make up acne:
- Whiteheads: firm bumps on the skin that are difficult to squeeze
- Blackheads: black bumps on the skin that are not filled with dirt but rather get their colour from a pigmentation of the hair follicle’s inner lining
- Pustules: small, red bumps that may feel sore or tender
- Papules: red bumps with a white centre caused by a buildup of pus
- Nodules: painful, large hard bumps under the skin
- Cysts: large, pus-filled bumps that can cause scarring
How can I control my Acne?
Cleaning the skin no more than twice a day with mild cleaners rather than soap, which can inflame the skin further.
Avoid squeezing the spots and blackheads as it can make things worse and may even lead to permanent scarring.
What treatments are available for Acne?
Although acne cannot be cured, there are several treatments for acne on the market including Duac and Epiduo. These medications work to reduce the inflammation of the skin, reduce the existing spots and blackheads, and kill acne-causing bacteria.
If your acne is particularly severe, you can visit your GP for antibiotics and prescription-strength anti-acne creams.