Acne is a common skin condition that appears when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Blackheads, whiteheads or pimples usually appear on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages, including adults into their 40s, 50s and even beyond.
Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria. Each pore of your skin is the opening to a follicle comprising of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. The oil gland emits sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. The sebum keeps your skin lubricated and soft. However one or more problems in this process can results in acne; too much oil is produced by your follicles, dead skin cells accumulate in your pores or bacteria builds up in the pores
Although there is no definitive ‘cure’ for acne, there are a number of ways to reduce breakouts and manage symptoms.
There are a wide range of effective topical acne treatments, i.e. those applied directly to the skin as well as oral contraceptive pills such as Dianette or Clairette for women, which help to reduce the amount of oil the skin produces.
In addition, self-care is always recommended to try and prevent acne in the first place. Certain foods may trigger breakouts or stress, so try to avoid things that you notice cause an acne breakout. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will benefit overall health and in turn help to reduce the occurrence of spots.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated may also be beneficial for your skin. Other ways of preventing acne include not leaving makeup on overnight when you go to sleep, not aggressively picking, scratching or rubbing spots and try to avoid using greasy cosmetics or creams.
If either over-the-counter or prescription medicines have not cleared up your acne, self-care tips have not worked, or your acne is getting worse and causing you emotional distress, it is advisable to book in for appointment with your own doctor or dermatologist so they can discuss your next options.