Acne is a skin condition that’s familiar to almost everyone, and at-home acne treatments are widely available. It is a condition that causes oily skin, blackheads and spots, usually when a person is going through hormonal changes such as during puberty or menopause. For many women, it is a regular part of their menstruation cycle. Many acne patients come to us saying that they don’t have acne, they just have spots, however if spots (can just be a few) are persistently occurring then the concern is most likely to be acne rather than the occasional breakout most of us experience.
While acne is often seen on the back and chest areas, it most commonly affects the face, which is why it causes so much distress. When teenagers get severe acne, it becomes a very sensitive issue and can have a knock-on effect on the entire family who can sometimes feel that they’re walking on eggshells around the sufferer. Acne treatments for severe symptoms can be effective ways of controlling the condition, as well as preventing permanent scarring, but they must be done under qualified medical supervision.
Low-grade acne – the odd few spots that appear unpredictably – can often be managed with products you use at home. If necessary, ask an expert for advice on the best products to use.
Acne can be made up of blackheads, whiteheads and cysts, all of which are different and some need to be treated differently; sometimes a combination of treatments will be necessary. There are different internal and external factors which cause acne and this can also mean that a few different treatments (at home and/or in-clinic) may be recommended to the individual.
Any kind of acne treatment will take a while to take effect. It would be very unusual for results to happen overnight and you will have to be patient and persevere with it as there will inevitably be ups and downs due to the very nature of this skin disease. However, when you do gain control of the condition and are effectively managing it, it will all be worth it!
There are two reasons why it needs to be treated. The first is the psychological impact of the person suffering. Everyone copes differently, but as acne occurs mainly during puberty when teenagers are going through a crucial stage in the development of their personality, their self-esteem and body image can suffer, causing problems and even depression.
The other reason why it’s best to control acne is that it can cause scarring, which in turn can cause self-esteem issues for many years. It is possible to treat acne scarring; we commonly do so very successfully at Skin to Love, however treatment is something that you have to pay for as it’s not currently offered on the NHS and the scarring itself can be a cause of anxiety for the sufferer.
Our consultant dermatologist, Dr Sharon Critchlow, has personal experience of severe acne which is one of the reasons why she decided to specialise in dermatology. She is therefore well placed to understand the ways acne affects individuals psychologically as well as physically – as a real person with real issues, her patients often comment on her sympathetic approach.
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