Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin disease that occurs when dead skin cells and oil from the skin clog hair follicles. Typical features of the condition include blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and possible scarring.
Acne primarily affects skin with a relatively high number of oil glands, including the face, upper part of the chest, and back. The resulting appearance can lead to anxiety, reduced self-esteem, and if left untreated, can negatively affect one’s everyday life.
Generally occurs during adolescence, acne often continues into young adulthood. An increase in testosterone (which accrues in both genders during puberty) is the most common cause, however, root causes can also include environmental challenges, hormonal imbalances, the contraceptive pill, your gut health or all of the above.
Acne is very common in teenagers and younger adults. About 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne.
Acne is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19.
Most people have acne on and off for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older. Acne often disappears when a person is in their mid-twenties.
In some cases, acne can continue into adult life. About 5% of women and 1% of men have acne over the age of 25.
The most important reasons to treat acne are to control breakouts, avoid scarring, and make any scars that have already developed less noticeable. Our skin specialist will diagnose your acne and help you find the best acne treatment for your skin type and the kind of acne you have.
The self-help techniques below may be useful:
- Don’t wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day. Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse.
- Wash the affected area with a gentle, non-abrasive face wash or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse.
- Don’t try to “clean out” blackheads or squeeze spots. This can make them worse and cause permanent scarring.
- Avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics. Use water-based products that are described as non-comedogenic (this means the product is less likely to block the pores in your skin).
- Completely remove make-up before going to bed.
- If dry skin is a problem, use a fragrance-free, water-based emollient.
- Regular exercise can’t improve your acne, but it can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem.
- Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising, as sweat can irritate your acne.
- Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.