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What is it?

Acne is a common skin condition that causes spots to develop on the skin, usually on the face, back and chest. The spots can range from surface blackheads and whiteheads to deep, inflamed, pus-filled pustules and cysts, which can be severe and lead to scarring.

Why do we get acne?

It's most commonly linked to rising levels of testosterone in both girls and boys during puberty. This affects the grease glands attached to the hair follicles in the skin.

Testosterone causes excessive amounts of oil (known as sebum) and thickens the inner lining of the hair follicle, which becomes blocked.

Acne tends to run in families.

Other hormonal changes, such as the ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle or pregnancy can also lead to episodes of acne in women.

Adult acne usually occurs after the age of 25 and predominantly in women. It can be harder to treat than adolescent acne.

What can you do if you have acne?

Keeping your skin clean is very important, but it won't prevent new spots developing. Wash the affected area twice a day with a mild soap or cleanser, but to avoid irritation don't scrub the skin. If your skin is dry, use a moisturiser.

Although acne can't be cured, it can be controlled with creams, lotions and gels which are widely available at pharmacies.

If your acne is severe or appears on your chest and back, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger creams that are available only on prescription.

What you eat has absolutely no effect on acne.

When to see your GP

Make sure you consult your doctor if suffering from acne is causing you untold distress.

Also, ask if you can get an appointment to see a dermatologist because early treatment with antibiotics or, in the case of girls, with the Pill, may be needed to prevent you developing nodules, cysts and further scarring.

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Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 2, 2015
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