Acne Causes Unattractive Spots
Jun 29, 2007 by Peter Jameson
Amazing as it might seem, serious skin conditions affect around seven million people in the UK alone and they can cause considerable emotional distress as well as physical discomfort.
What is Acne?
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that causes spots which are the result of a build up of dead skin cells and grease that block either the pores or the hair follicles. It occurs most often on the face, the upper arms or on the upper back and chest.
Acne is not contagious and has nothing to do with lack of cleanliness.
Hormonal changes such as those related to puberty, menstruation and pregnancy may contribute to acne but be aware that many medications such as contraceptive pills and steroids will often make it worse.
Which people suffer from it most?
Nearly all people experience acne at some point in their lives and most often as young adults. Girls tend to develop it slightly earlier than boys, at around the age of 14-17 compared to boys who most often develop it at around 16-19 years of age.
Acne also occurs later in life and around five per cent of women and one per cent of men aged between 25-40 continue to have acne after adolescence.
What are the symptoms?
When the pores of the skin become blocked and blackheads develop and small, tender red spots appear which often turn into pimples or white-heads filled with pus.
What is the prognosis?
Generally, if it is a mild condition and it occurs at some stage in young adulthood then the problem will resolve itself.
However, for 15% of people it can be serious if the spots become infected and the they can cause significant scarring especially after being scratched or squeezed.
So how should I treat it?
It is unnecessary to treat mild acne as each inflamed spot will eventually heal itself.
Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water will also help to keep the skin healthy.
Keeping the spot-prone areas clean by washing the affected areas twice a day with an un-perfumed cleanser will also help but be aware that excessive washing and scrubbing will not only, not help, but might also make the inflammation worse.
The available treatments for the more severe types of acne work by either unblocking blocked pores or by reducing the amount of grease or sebum produced by the skin thereby reducing the inflammation and fighting the bacterium that infects the lesions.
Many creams, gels and lotions are available at pharmacies and chemists without a prescription and they usually contain anti-bacterial agents like benzoyl peroxide which work by drying out the skin thereby encouraging it to shed the surface layer of dead skin.
Make-up can be used to cover blemishes but heavy use of a "concealer" will often make acne worse.
Most scarring will improve with time and laser therapy, chemical peels, dermabrasion and other treatments have been suggested for acne scarring.