We have all suffered from a breakout or a spot at some point in our lives, but when spots are persistent or become more severe, they become a problem. Acne is most likely to occur on the face, back and chest. When it is on the face it means it’s highly visible and difficult to hide, resulting in sufferers becoming self-conscious about their appearance.
Acne is common in both adolescents and adults.
– Increased size of the sebaceous gland and increased oil production.
– Increased production of skin cells; the body can’t shed these ‘extra’ cells fast enough, and as a result, the sebaceous gland follicles become blocked.
– The blocked follicles become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and swiftly become highly populated by ‘.acnes bacteria’ (formerly known as “P. acnes bacteria”).
– As an immune response to the bacteria, the follicles become inflamed. This same response can also be stimulated by hormones, such as those produced at puberty.
There is no single solution and no cure, but treatment can successfully manage the condition. Acne treatment will depend on the individual, and you may need a combination of treatments. Most people will try over-the-counter products, see no improvement within a few weeks and then try something else, and so the cycle begins. Often people use the wrong products, making the condition worse.
It’s important to understand that, in the case of oily skin, it is counterproductive to try and strip the oils because drying out the skin can trigger the production of even more oil, making the condition worse.
Clinic treatment options include two types of laser and topical medication applied in the clinic, as well as prescription-only oral and topical medicines. Often the treatment plan involves a combination of different treatments in order to get the best results.
– Specialist medical chemical skin peels
– Prescription-only topical and oral medicines
It is important to remember that acne treatments will take time to have an effect, so you must not expect overnight results. It is also likely that you will experience ups and downs, so don’t worry if things seem to be getting worse for a while.
Unfortunately, those with severe acne are at risk of permanent scarring, so treatment for this is advised. Your GP can offer medicines that will help, but they are limited as to what they can prescribe.
A Dermatologist can prescribe Roaccutane, which is available privately and, for some people, through the NHS.
Once you have treated the acne successfully, you can look to treat any scarring that has occurred with a number of available scar treatments.