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Millions of people of all ages suffer from the depressing and embarrassing condition of acne.

Acne isn't reserved for adolescence and difficult teenage years.

And Acne Awareness Week, which starts today, aims to stamp out some of the myths surrounding the often restricting illness.

A survey by the Acne Support Group revealed that a staggering 84 per cent of people with the problem avoid socialising.

Group co-ordinator Alison Dudley says too many people are still told: "You'll grow out of it".

And she stresses: "Our message is - don't wait until you grow out of it. Take positive action - acne can be treated."

Here, we answer all your questions on acne:

What exactly is acne?

It is an inflammatory skin disease which affects the tiny pores and oil glands which cover the face, arms, back and chest.

Acne is a response in the skin to the hormone testosterone.

In most people, the testosterone is present in normal levels in the blood, but the skin can react in an abnormal way to it.

What causes this "abnormality"?

The cause is unknown, but it is self-limiting and will eventually correct itself. This may, however, take years .

Is it caused by diet?

No direct link has been found between acne and diet. It's a myth that chocolate and fried foods make acne worse. However, a good, balanced diet will improve your general well-being and the condition of your skin.

Is it caused by dirt?

No - in fact, most people with acne wash more frequently than those without to try to clear away the excess oil produced by the skin.

Is acne hereditary?

Acne is not an inherited disease in the medical sense of the word. But it is more common in children of parents who have had, or still have, acne. Neither is acne infectious.

Do humid atmospheres make acne worse?

Yes. Going on holiday to a very humid climate or working in an environment such as a kitchen or steam room can cause acne to flare up in the same way as sweating does.

Am I unusual having acne in my 30s?

Although most people regard acne as teenage spots, many people sail through puberty and adolescence with no problems at all, only to develop acne in their mid to late 20s or even 30s.


The Acne Support Group says around 60 per cent of people aged between 14 and 20 suffer from the complaint.

Fortunately, chemists provide over-the-counter remedies such as Benzoyl Peroxide, which can be effective in mild acne cases.

Start with a low concentration and, if there is no noticeable improvement in your skin after three months, consult your doctor.

Your GP can then prescribe, antibiotic lotions, gels and creams for more stubborn cases.

In many cases, the acne will clear of its own accord. However, a small percentage of sufferers may need further medical attention.

And a dermatologist could be required if the acne persists, in spite of the treatment.

For further information, send an SAE to The Acne Support Group, PO Box 230, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 OUT.

Hopes rise in hunt for leukaemia cure

A husband and wife laboratory team whose son died from leukaemia believe their latest scientific breakthrough could be the final cure for the disease.

Doctors David and Bee Flavell have spent years researching the revolutionary drug 3BIT after their 10-year- old son Simon died from leukaemia in 1990.

But now they have come up with even more powerful drugs - called 4BIT and 5BIT - in their crusade to eradicate the illness.

Dr David Flavell said: "We hope to be able to cure patients of leukaemia.

"3BIT killed leukaemia cells very effectively and, although our work is at an early stage, it looks as if 4BIT and 5BIT might be even more effective."

The couple, from Southampton, were running a laboratory researching leukaemia diagnoses when Simon developed the disease in 1988.

A nationwide appeal failed to find a bone marrow transplant donor and the boy died in June 1990.

Soon after, his parents set up the Simon Flavell Leukaemia Laboratory at Southampton General Hospital.

Their latest find has so impressed the Leukaemia Research Fund it has agreed to pay a pounds 53,000 grant to develop the work on 4BIT and 5BIT.

Dr David Flavell said: "This is great news - it's a real boost to our work.

"We are also working on applying for a National Lottery grant."

Meanwhile, America's National Cancer Institute in Washington is about to start multi- million pound trials of 3BIT.


My driving test is coming up soon and I am scared stiff already. Unless I get some sort of help, I am sure I'll fail because of my nerves. Can you suggest anything to help?

You should not take anything that makes you sleepy or slows your reactions, so that rules out most tranquillisers. Some people are helped by hypnosis, but I find that a short course of beta blocker tablets often helps settle the butterflies before a driving test. Some people cannot take these, however, so get further advice from your doctor. Good luck on the day.

Do you think that wearing a copper bangle on my wrist will help to give me protection against rheumatism?

No, but it doesn't stop a lot of folk trying.


There are thousands of acne treatments on the market, all of them promising to give you smooth, spot-free skin.

The acne Support Group urge any sufferers to take positive action and treat their acne rather than wait for it to go away on its own.

Here are the 10 most popular over-the-counter acne treatments ...

Biactol 150ml

Biactol 250ml

Biactol antibacterial sensitive

Clearasil for greasy skin

Clearasil colourless cream

Clearasil max 10 colourless

Formule anti- bacterial spot pen

Oxy Sensitive Duo pads

Oxy blackout

Oxy 10

Information supplied by Boots The Chemist.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Frame, Lorna
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 5, 1996
Previous Article:Gyres rated.
Next Article:Record Recruitment; TALK YOUR WAY INTO THAT JOB.

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