Acne is an extremely common skin condition that will affect most of us at some point in our lifetime. Millions have it, and while it’s most commonly associated with teenagers, it’s not limited to any particular age group. It causes spots, oily skin, and (unsurprisingly) many are looking to get rid of it. Are you one of them? Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know, from causes to treatment.What is acne?
Acne is a skin condition that appears mainly on the face, chest and back. You’ll recognise it by the ‘spots’ it causes on your skin. Mild to moderate acne produces small blackheads or whiteheads, while severe acne has larger inflammations containing fluid, like pustules and cysts. These can be painful, and in severe cases, can lead to permanent scars.
About 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent. So, you’re not alone. But,
chronic acne can control your life. It not only makes you feel physically uncomfortable; it can also affect your confidence in social situations and self-esteem. Most people try various treatments in a bid to get rid of it.
Essentially, acne is caused when hair follicles in the skin (tiny holes in the skin) become blocked6, due to glands producing too much sebum, which is an oily substance. This excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells, forming a plug in the follicle.
If this plug is close to the surface of the skin, it bulges outwards, creating a whitehead. Or, it can be open to the skin, creating a blackhead. Usually harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then infect the plugged follicles, causing:
Acne is thought to be triggered by puberty due to increased levels of testosterone, as this can cause the glands to produce more sebum than the skin needs.
You can be more likely to develop acne due to a variety of factors, such as:
Acne, however, is not caused by poor diet, dirty skin or poor hygiene. These are common misconceptions.
No, acne is not infectious. You don’t have it because someone passed it to you by touching you, and you can’t pass it on to someone else. This is another common misconception.
It’s also important to note that while it can leave scarring, acne isn’t dangerous.
The severity of acne can usually be placed into three categories :
Depending on the severity, a GP may be needed to diagnose acne. You can also speak to a pharmacist for advice.
There is no way to completely prevent acne, but following these tips can help reduce the number and severity of outbreaks:
Wash your skin regularly, especially after exercising, as sweat clogs your pores. As a general rule, wash your face gently twice a day, using a low – pH cleanser designed for acne-prone skin.
Don’t overdo it, however. Too much washing can dry out the skin and worsen existing acne. Harsh cleansing can also affect your skin’s protective layer, making it vulnerable to an acne outbreak.
Make-up and lotions
If you use make-up, choose ones that won’t block the pores. These are known as non-comedogenic products. Clogging of the pores is a major contributor to acne.
Things to avoid
Acne is a very common skin condition that affects most people at some point1, and it has many different triggers, so there’s not one ‘cure’ exactly, and it can depend on how severe it is. However, there are many different remedies and lifestyle changes that can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Mild and moderate cases can be treated with over-the-counter products, while more serious cases require advice from a healthcare professional.
The good news is there’s plenty you can try to improve your acne. We’ve got you covered. However, bear in mind it’s best to speak to a GP about which treatment would be most beneficial for you.
Creams & ointments
A dermatologist can help you find the right creams or products that may help:
While it’s easier said than done, it’s not a good idea to pick at your skin and try to force spots to burst. This can cause scarring. However, a warm compress can soften the spot and allow pus to come to the surface. It can also help a pimple come to a head.
Ice packs can help reduce inflammation, redness and pain.
Usually for severe cases only, but your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help treat acne, as they can kill bacteria. These are often taken alongside topical treatments.
Birth control can help control hormone imbalances that may be causing acne in women.
Dermalex Acne assists in restoring the skin’s natural PH balance and flora, controls sebum production and helps reduce redness. It’s clinically proven to treat mild to moderate acne symptoms, with proven results after 4 weeks9. Symptoms such as acne spots, redness and swelling can all be treated, without drying out your skin.
The Dermalex range of creams has been specially formulated to moisturise and protect dry skin. Each product in the range is clinically-proven to treat and relieve irritating skin symptoms.