Acne is a very common condition that will affect most people at some point in their lives; it is most common in teenagers and is associated with changes in the body brought about by puberty. Acne is a skin condition, which is characterised by the continual development of spots on the face, back, chest and neck. Although acne is common, it is still a source of extreme anxiety for many people and can seriously affect self-esteem.

What causes acne?

Acne is associated with several different causes but most of the popular beliefs are actually myths; acne is very rarely affected by diet or hygiene and is almost entirely due to hormonal changes in the body. Puberty causes an increase in testosterone levels in the body, in both females and males; this causes the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum than usual; this causes the follicles in the skin to become blocked, which causes spots and blackheads to appear.

Symptoms of acne

Acne usually develops on the face but it can also appear on the back and chest in many cases. Acne isn’t just characterised by red spots; it also includes whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, nodules and cysts. Most cases of acne are mild, with a few spots appearing on a regular basis but severe cases of acne are not uncommon; this can often cause a much more widespread development of spots.

Are there treatments for acne available?

Nowadays, there are many different treatments available for acne. Mild acne is usually treated with antibiotic creams and lotions, which help to kill bacteria and prevent the follicles from becoming blocked. More severe cases of acne will usually be treated with a combination of antibiotic creams and tablets, prescribed by a dermatologist. If all other treatments fail, patients may be offered a medication called roaccutane.

Can acne be prevented?

Acne cannot be prevented in many cases but there are few steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of developing acne; these include regularly washing your face and removing make-up at night.

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