Acne is a skin condition that presents as lesions on the face. It’s the result of hair follicles becoming blocked with oil and dead skin cells and they can also occur on other parts of the body such as the neck, shoulders, chest and back.
What causes acne?
Acne typically appears during the teenage years with the onset of puberty. Heightened levels of testosterone or other hormones convert in the skin to stimulate oil glands at the base of hair follicles and produce an oily, waxy substance called sebum. A combination of excess sebum and dead skin cells block the hair follicle causing one or a combination of lesions. The length and severity of the lesions may cause acne scarring. Other factors that may cause acne include medications, genes, hormonal imbalance, bacteria, bacterial colonisation and environment.
What are the symptoms?
Acne shows up as clogged pores and can present as pimples, blackheads, white heads or harder lesions such as cysts and nodules. There is a range in the severity and length of time it takes for the lesions to heal.
Who does it affect?
Many teenagers suffer from acne and it often resolves itself by late teens or early 20s. Acne can also affect adults later in life. This may be the result of major hormonal changes such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, emotional stress, clogged pores, bacteria or contact irritation.
What is the impact of acne?
As well as the physical signs, acne may also have upsetting psychological and social impacts. It may cause low self-confidence, embarrassment and social isolation for people with moderate to severe cases.
How is acne treated?
Identifying the cause of your acne is crucial to receiving effective treatment. It is best to speak with a GP or dermatologist. Once we have diagnosed the cause there are a variety of treatments including hormonal therapies, a range of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and vitamin A based therapies. We offer a variety of topical therapies and laser can be used for select patients.