Acne (acne vulgaris) is a common skin complaint that affects millions of people in the UK and can affect people of all ages. It usually causes the development of oily skin and spots on your face, back, chest and shoulders.
Acne is usually associated with puberty and is due to changes in hormone levels in the body. These hormones prompt the grease-producing glands next to your hair follicles to produce more oil (abnormal sebum). This abnormal sebum changes the activity of usually harmless skin bacterium, prompting an immune response that results in pus and inflammation. The increased hormone levels also thicken the lining of the hair follicle, causing the pores to become blocked, leading to spots.
In most people, acne usually clears up by their early twenties. However, adult acne is more common in women, especially during pregnancy, due to fluctuating hormone levels.
The symptoms of acne can vary from person to person and can be mild or severe, flaring up at certain times.
There are different types of spots caused by acne, which include:
- Blackheads – small black or yellowish bumps
- Whiteheads – similar to blackheads but won’t empty when squeezed
- Papules – small bumps that are red and tender
- Nodules – painful large lumps that develop under the surface of the skin
- Cysts – large pus-filled lumps that are similar to boils
- Pustules – small red bumps with a white tip due to a pus build-up
During a consultation, our experts will take a history and undertake an examination in order to make a diagnosis. From there, we can develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Mild acne can be treated with some simple self-help techniques or with products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide that works to reduce the bacteria on the skin and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Treatments of severe acne may include prescription medication, such as:
- Rretinoids – help to decrease sebum production and unclog pores
- Topical antibiotics and antibiotic tablets – reduces bacteria and fights inflammation
- Azelaic acid – attacks the inflammatory response
- Contraceptive pill (hormonal therapies)- helps to decrease sebum production
Treatments can take up to 3 months to work. Once they do start to work, the results are usually good.
Laser surgery for treatment of acne scarring may also be desirable.
Ahmeys healthcare professionals have a wealth of experience in dermatology and can develop a treatment regime to help treat your symptoms, from mild to severe acne and acne scarring.