Acne vulgaris – the medical name for acne - is a very common condition and, while it is not serious, it can cause a lot of upset and anxiety due to its appearance.
While acne is generally associated with teenagers, it can actually affect people at any age.
Typical symptoms include spots and oily skin, but it is often accompanied by blackheads/whiteheads and by pus-filled spots called postules, which not only affect the face, but also the shoulders, back and chest.
What causes acne?
One of the main causes of acne is hormonal change, especially around puberty. That’s why teenagers are particularly badly affected by the condition.
Acne occurs when hair follicles are blocked with dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil (sebum). These blocked follicles cause various types of blemishes on the skin, such as: pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts.
Degrees of acne
Mild acne: if you’re affected by mild acne you’ll probably have fewer than 20 blackheads/whiteheads and you may also have pimples, which are round and inflamed whiteheads on the skin.
Moderate acne: you’ll have a greater number of the above.
Severe acne: this occurs when the skin is covered with widespread blemishes which have nodules or cysts, which are larger and more solid than pimples.
Unfortunately, if moderate or severe acne are not treated quickly, this can result in scarring.
The Minor Ailment Scheme allows our pharmacists to treat patients with mild acne.
Treatment involves the prescribing of Benzoyl peroxide gel and wash. Benzoyl peroxide targets that bacteria that cause acne, and works by easing inflammation and unclogging pores.
Although the treatment is generally effective, it can take up to 8 weeks to work, and so our pharmacists will also provide you with advice on self-care as to how to ensure that your acne does not get any worse.
Our pharmacists will recommend, for example, that you:
Try not to pick or squeeze your spots, as this usually aggravates them and may cause scarring
Wash the affected area twice a day with a mild soap or cleanser, but do not scrub the skin too hard, as this could irritate it
Apply the treatment sparingly after washing and drying the affected area of your skin
Maintain a healthy diet
If you’re troubled by acne, call in to Toome Pharmacy today for a free consultation with one of our pharmacists.