Acne vulgaris is a common and sometimes distressing skin condition. ‘Spots’ and deeper lumpy comedones tend to appear on areas of your face, including the cheeks, forehead and chin. Acne occurs at all ages but is more common in teenage years and early adulthood. The most commonly affected sites are:
- Upper Back
- Upper Chest
Even though it is quite prevalent, acne can be a source of great distress to those with the condition. Feeling embarrassed about your spots is common and so too is sometimes wanting to avoid social events.
There are many common false beliefs about acne, including that it is caused by junk foods like chocolate and fast food or not washing properly. However, acne is generally hormonal or genetic. Teenagers are commonly affected with acne due to the large hormone increases that make them grow and mature. Older adults can also be affected if they are genetically predisposed.
Appropriate treatment depends on the degree of your acne. This is difficult to define and often best assessed face to face or via clear photographs. Generally, acne that affects multiple areas, including your face, chest and back, is considered to be at least moderate.
Creams such as benzoyl peroxide and adapalene (if not contraindicated) are some of the most common first line treatments for mild acne and can be used together if required. Topical antibiotics are recommended in combination with benzoyl peroxide.
If topical treatments do not settle your symptoms, oral antibiotics may be considered. Lymecycline is the antibiotic that is offered by PrivateDoc. Depending on the degree of your acne, oral antibiotics can be combined with topical creams.
Severe/ non-responsive acne
If there is no significant improvement in your acne with trials of two oral antibiotics or if your acne is severe, referral to a dermatologist can be considered.
Non-medical treatment and self help
Acne is not caused by poor hygiene. Washing twice a day with a gentle soap and fragrance-free cleanser is adequate. Overcleaning the skin can cause dryness and irritation.
Picking or squeezing your spots increases the risk of scarring and infection and should be avoided.
Although foods are not a cause of bad skin, you should try to maintain a healthy diet with a good balance of nutrition and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
Further information is available from: British Association of Dermatologists — Acne
The treatments offered by PrivateDoc can make a significant difference to your condition. Results vary from person to person and we often find that different treatments work better for different people. Both topical treatments and oral antibiotics will take time to work. Initial results are often judged at 8 weeks to assess the benefits of treatment.
With treatment, your condition can usually be much better controlled and easier to manage.