Acne is a common skin issue that many people face. It shows up as spots, oily skin, and sometimes, the skin can feel hot or painful. Here’s what you need to know:

Acne Symptoms

– Acne usually pops up on your face (almost everyone gets this),

– It often appears on the face, affecting almost everyone with acne.

– Back acne is common, impacting more than half of people with acne.

– About 15% of people with acne experience it on their chest.


Types of Spots

1. Blackheads: Small black or yellowish bumps on the skin, not dirty but black due to the hair follicle’s inner lining.
2. Whiteheads: Similar to blackheads but firmer and won’t empty when squeezed.
3. Papules: Small red bumps that may feel tender or sore.
4. Pustules: Similar to papules, with a white tip in the center caused by pus build-up.
5. Nodules: Large, hard lumps beneath the skin’s surface, potentially painful.
6. Cysts: The most severe type, large pus-filled lumps resembling boils, carrying a higher risk of permanent scarring.

Understanding these aspects can help manage and address acne effectively.

Self-Help Tips

– Don’t over-wash your skin (twice a day is plenty).
– Use a mild soap or #cleanser with lukewarm water.
– Avoid squeezing spots or cleaning out blackheads to prevent scarring.
– Choose water-based, non-oily products for skincare.
– Remove makeup before bedtime.
– If your skin is dry, use a fragrance-free, water-based moisturizer.
– Exercise won’t cure acne but can boost mood; shower after to avoid irritation.
– Wash your hair regularly and keep it off your face.

Things you can try if you have acne

– It can’t be cured but can be controlled with treatment.
– For mild acne, ask a pharmacist for advice; they have creams and gels.
– Benzoyl peroxide creams can help but be careful as it may bleach clothing.
– Severe acne may need prescription #antibiotics or stronger creams, especially if on your chest or back.

Remember, while acne can’t always be avoided, there are ways to manage and treat it.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you have mild acne, consult a pharmacist for advice on appropriate medications.

If these medications do not effectively manage your acne or if it is causing significant distress, make an appointment with a GP.

A visit to a GP is recommended for individuals with moderate or severe acne, as well as those who develop nodules or cysts, as these conditions require proper treatment to prevent scarring.

Avoid the urge to pick or squeeze the acne spots, as this can result in permanent scarring.

Treatment may take several months to show results, so patience is key. Once the treatment begins to take effect, the outcomes are generally positive.

Why Do I Experience Acne?

Acne is primarily associated with hormonal changes during puberty, although it can occur at any age.

Specific hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands near hair follicles to produce excess oil (abnormal sebum).

This abnormal sebum alters the behavior of a typically harmless skin bacterium called P. acnes, leading to increased aggressiveness, inflammation, and pus formation.

The hormones also cause thickening of the inner lining of the hair follicle, resulting in pore blockages that are not resolved by skin cleansing.

Other Potential Causes

Acne often has a genetic component. If both parents had acne, it is likely that their offspring will also experience it.

Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy can trigger acne episodes in women.

There is no scientific evidence linking acne to poor hygiene or sexual activity.

Who is Affected?

Acne is prevalent among teenagers and young adults, with about 95% of individuals aged 11 to 30 experiencing some degree of acne.

It is more common in girls aged 14 to 17 and boys aged 16 to 19.

Many individuals experience acne on and off for several years before noticing improvements as they age.

Acne typically resolves by the mid-20s, although in some cases, it may persist into adulthood, affecting about 3% of adults over the age of 35.

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