The rundown on acne

What is acne?

Acne is a very common skin condition. It can be identified by the presence of blackheads or whiteheads as well as pus-filled spots (pustules). Large pimples called nodules and cysts occur in a smaller percentage of acne suffers.

Acne is most common in the teen years. It can appear as small, red spots on the face, neck, chest or back. Most teenagers will experience acne at some point during their adolescence.

Whilst acne usually disappears by the mid- to late twenties for most people, it can last much longer and persists into adulthood. Acne may also appear in adulthood, skipping the typical teenage onset. Uncommonly, young children may develop blackheads, pustules, or cysts on their cheeks and noses from time to time.


12 top Tips & TRICKS FOR acne MANAGEMENT

No matter how your acne affects you now, it is important to manage it effectively. This prevents permanent scarring, and helps reduce the embarrassment some patients experience.

  •  Do not pick or squeeze your pimples. This will only aggravate them and can lead to scarring and infection.
  •  In the first instance, try over-the counter remedies for mild acne. 
  • Products containing niacinamide, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are good options to start with. 
  • Your treatments will take 4 to 6 weeks to kick-in
  • You should ensure that you are familiar with how your treatments work so that you can get the most out of them. 
  • You should be aware that some topical creams and lotions can dry your skin or cause irritation. You should stop using lotions or creams if your skin becomes irritated. 
  • Always use sunscreen when the UV index is above 3, especially when using retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives). 
  • Tell your doctor if you are feeling anxious or depressed about your acne. You can talk with them about how you feel and they will help you formulate a treatment plan. You should also reach out to other people for support if you feel low self-esteem or have lost confidence. You can reach out to family, friends, and support groups. You might also be able access a counsellor at school, university, work or elsewhere. 
  • You may feel more confident using make-up to cover your spots if you don't feel like 'embracing' you acne. 
  • Make sure to choose products that are not prone to causing blackheads and whiteheads and are labelled as non-comedogenic (non-acne forming). 
  • Use gentle cleansing products and water to wash your skin. Do not scrub too hard as it can cause irritation to the skin, and worsen your acne. Poor washing is not the cause of blackheads. 
  • Consider whether a high GI diet or drinking skinny milk is a trigger factor for your acne.