Seeing Spots? (Acne)

Acne – the bane of every teenager’s life. So what can be done?

Acne is a skin problem that affects a lot of people in their teens. During this time, your body produces more of the male hormone testosterone, which causes your skin to produce more oil. This oil blocks pores, causing bacteria to grow. This bacteria produces a fatty substance that irritates your skin, and causes blackheads, pimples or cysts.

Other causes
Certain things can make acne worse. These include:

  • Stress;
  • The contraceptive pill;
  • Some drugs, including steroids;
  • Having your period;
  • Make-up; and
  • Spending a lot of time in hot, humid places.

Old Wives’ Tales
There are also a lot of myths surrounding acne. For instance, it’s not true that acne is made worse by certain foods, such as chocolate. It’s also not infectious.

What you can do

  • Never pick or squeeze pimples or blackheads. This will only make them worse, and can cause scarring;
  • Scrubbing away at your face all day long will not help, however, gentle cleansing two or three times a day will help keep your face clean;
  • If you want to wear make up, choose water-based, oil-free products. Make sure you remove it properly before bed; and
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet, and drink lots of water.

There are hundreds of acne creams, gels and washes out there, and a lot of them don’t work. Some, such as abrasive scrubs or exfoliating cleansers, can actually irritate the skin and make it worse. The only ones that have been proven to have any effect are products that contain benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, or sulphur. Ask your chemist which product he recommends.

Sometimes acne can be so bad that you need to see a doctor. The doctor can prescribe antibiotics, or refer you to a skin specialist. But usually, acne will disappear over time.


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