Acne affects virtually everybody at some stage in their lives. Unfortunately for some people it is most severe around the time of puberty when they are least able to cope with teasing and bullying from others. For others the skin problems continue well into adult life.
Acne is not caused by insufficient face washing or poor diet. It may be related to increased sensitivity to male hormones, which are produced in both males and females, or to changes in the fats which coat all the skin, or to inflammatory processes on the surface of the skin. Medical conditions which increase the levels of male hormones can make acne worse. The commonest of these is polycystic ovarian syndrome which occurs in women.
Whatever the cause there are a variety of treatments that might help. Treatment varies according to the cause and severity of your acne. The first place that most people with simple acne go to is the supermarket or chemist. The main products sold are over the counter anti-bacterial washes. These may help to reduce the severity of inflammation and infection which accompanies the acne but they are not the answer for everyone. The next step is often to try one of the Benzoyl peroxide products, but again do not work for all. Treatments prescribed by the GP include: retinoids, which are made from vitamin A; antibiotics, usually one of the tetracyclines; the oral contraceptive pill, for women only; and isotretinoin, another form of vitamin A. Other treatments can include chemical skin peels and laser treatment. The laser light aims to reduce the bacteria and inflammation that are partially responsible for acne, and in addition stimulate repair of the skin. Laser is also useful for reducing scarring from acne damage.
Acne is not something to just be accepted as a fact of life. No matter how severe the problem is there are treatment options that can help. If simple treatments from the supermarket do not help the problem then consult a pharmacist, and if necessary your GP.
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