Acne (or Acne vulgaris) is a long-term skin disease caused by clogging of hair follicles with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. Characteristics of acne include blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and greasy skin. It is found commonly in adolescents. Treatment for acne depends on its severity. Treatment usually involves self-help techniques, topical treatments using gel or cream and medications. Treatment can take up to months to work so do not expect results overnight.
There are a few tips to help relieve acne at home. First, wash affected areas of skin no more than twice a day to prevent irritation due to frequent washing. Do not pop blackheads as they may cause permanent scarring. For the ladies, avoid using too much cosmetic products as they may block the pores in your skin. People who exercise regularly should shower immediately as sweat can cause irritation of the acne. You should also wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.
The most common cream that is used to treating mild acne is benzoyl peroxide, which is available over-the-counter. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and works by reducing number of bacteria on skin surface.
Your GP may prescribe topical antibiotics, either lotion or gel, for a period of six to eight week, to kill the bacteria on the skin. Antibiotic tablets (tetracyclines) are usually used in combination with a topical treatment in more severe cases.
For cases like polycystic ovary syndrome that cause acne in women, hormonal treatment using co-cyprindiol is recommended. It is important to note that this type of treatment is not suitable if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Before starting any topical treatments or the use of medications, it is helpful to read the directions and potential side effects, for example benzoyl peroxide can cause dry and peeling of the skin.
Acne affects majority of the population at some points. Talking to friends or relatives who have had acne issues may help to improve your acne management.
All acne treatments take up to several months to show improvement. Antibiotic medicines can only be used for a shorter period of time because of the risk of developing antibiotic resistance. Your skin may also be more sensitive to sunlight.
If your treatment is showing no results, you can be referred to a dermatologist, a skin specialist, who will diagnose your case and offer appropriate treatment. Isotretinoin, taken as capsules or tablets, is derived from vitamin A and works by unblocking pores and reducing sebum production. This medication, however, can cause birth defects in pregnant women, and many other potential side effects. It can only be prescribed by a dermatologist, not by a GP.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.