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Acne - Causes, Treatment and Tips

30 Aug, 2016

Acne - Causes, Treatment and Tips


What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that’s painful to touch. Acne commonly affects the face (almost everyone with acne), back (more than half of people with acne) and chest. The symptoms of acne can be mild, moderate or severe.


Who's affected?

Acne is very common in teenagers and younger adults. About 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne.

Acne is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19.

Most people have acne on and off for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older. Acne often disappears when a person is in their mid-twenties.

In some cases, acne can continue into adult life. About 5% of women and 1% of men have acne over the age of 25.

More than 80% of cases of acne in adults occur in women.


What causes Acne?

 Acne is thought to be caused by changes in hormones (increased levels of a hormone called testosterone) that are triggered during puberty. It happens when tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked. Acne can run in families. If your parents had acne, it's likely that you'll also develop it. It's thought that many cases of adult acne are caused by the changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times.

There are other possible triggers for acne flare-up like: use of some cosmetic products ( rare nowadays),certain medications – such as steroid medications ; regularly wearing items that rubs on an affected area of skin, such as a headband or backpack and smoking. However, acne is not infectious which means you cannot pass acne on to other people.


GP or a Dermatologist can diagnose acne by looking at your skin. The doctor will also examine you to see how many spots you have and how painful they are. This will help determine how severe your acne is and also planning your treatment.

There are many different types of spots caused by acne. They are referred to by names such as blackheads, whiteheads, nodules etc.


What can I do if I have acne? – Self-help tips

Some of the following self-help techniques may be useful:

  • Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse. So try and avoid washing affected areas of skin more than twice a day.
  • Whenever you wash, use a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse.
  • Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze the spots, as this can lead to permanent scarring.
  • Avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics. Use water-based products that says on its label that it is less likely to block the pores in your skin.
  • Remove make-up before going to bed.
  • If dry skin is a problem, use a fragrance-free, water-based emollient.
  • Regular exercise can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem.
  • Shower as soon as possible, after every round of exercise, as sweat can irritate your acne.
  • Wash your hair regularly and do not let your hair fall across your face.
  • There is no cure for Acne but it can be controlled with treatment.
  • If you develop acne, it's a good idea to speak to your doctor for advice.
  • If your acne is severe or appears on your chest and back, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger creams that are only available on prescription.



Treatment for acne depends on how severe it is. It can take several months of treatment before acne symptoms improve. Once they start to work, the end results are usually good. Treatments for acne include creams, gels or antibiotics, depending on how severe it is. Hormonal therapies can often benefit women with acne, especially if the acne flares up around periods or is associated with hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome.


When should I seek medical advice?

Even mild cases of acne can cause distress. If your acne is making you feel very distressed or you can't control your spots with simple home remedies, see your GP or Dermatologist at one of the nearest HCL Healthcare Centers. If the symptoms are severe, seek help as early as possible, as they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring.