​Acne is a skin condition that commonly affects young people, but sufferers can be any age.

Acne causes spots on the skin, usually affecting the face, back, shoulders and chest. Severe cases of acne can lead to scarring. Mild acne can usually be controlled with over-the-counter, topical treatments such as creams or lotions, but more severe cases may need to be treated with stronger medication or antibiotics which are only available on prescription from a doctor or dermatologist.

Acne is caused when the hair follicles in the skin become blocked. This can happen when the sebaceous glands near the surface of your skin produce too much sebum, the oily substance that lubricates the skin. This excess sebum, combined with dead skin cells, blocks the follicles causing them to form blackheads and whiteheads. If these become infected with the normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin, then pustules, papules, cysts and nodules can result. When these become large and persistent, scarring can occur.

Acne is thought to be triggered by the increased levels of testosterone which occur during puberty. Changes in hormones can also lead to adult acne, of which 80% of cases occur in women, often linked to menstrual periods, pregnancy or polycystic ovary syndrome. Acne is also known to run in families, and can also be triggered by certain cosmetic products, medical conditions and smoking.

Acne sufferers experience oily skin, spots and skin that is sometimes painful or hot to the touch. This usually affects the face, chest, back and shoulders. Spots include blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, papules, cysts and nodules.

Symptoms can include:-

  • oily skin
  • spots on face, back or chest
  • skin that’s hot or painful to touch

A doctor will be able to diagnose acne after a short examination of your skin. If you suffer from severe acne, treatment or referral to a specialist dermatologist may be recommended in order to prevent the acne causing permanent scarring to your skin.