- What is acne?
- Why do teenagers get acne?
- What causes adult acne?
- Can stress and diet affect acne?
- Do over the counter acne treatments work?
- How do I know if I need prescription medication?
- Will it go away on its own?
- What prescription medications are there?
- Are prescription medications safe?
- How long do acne products take to work?
Acne is a skin condition that can be long-term and distressing for sufferers. It can manifest as a mild, moderate or severe infection. It is particularly common in teenagers but can affect people of almost any age. It usually occurs on the face, chest and back. The most significant cause of acne is androgens, which can increase sebum production to the extent that the skin's sebaceous glands become blocked and spots form.
The development of acne is associated with hormones and puberty is a time of significant hormonal changes. These changes lead to the sebaceous glands producing increased levels of oil in the skin, which are likely to become blocked and inflamed.
Some adults who have acne will also have experienced it as a teenager, and the infection has simply persisted into adulthood. However, some people may not develop acne until later on in their lives. Potential causes of adult acne in women include pregnancy, polycystic ovary syndrome and the menstrual cycle.
It is a common misconception that a poor diet causes acne, but this is actually not the case. Though it is true that some people may notice that particular foods are aggravating their acne, there is no general rule that says a particular food - like chocolate, for example - worsens acne. If you have noticed that a particular food does cause your acne to worsen, though, it makes sense to avoid it. Similarly, there is no clinically proven link between stress and acne, but people are affected by stress in different ways, so in some people it may have a physiologic effect.
The success of these kinds of treatments will vary from individual to individual, depending on factors such as the severity of their acne. Some people will find that simply changing their facial wash to one that is designed to treat acne has a positive effect. Others may try a number of over the counter treatments will little success. If you are beginning to experience acne, it is usually recommended that you try over the counter treatments in the first instance, and then discuss your options with your doctor before progressing to treatment medications, if necessary.
If you have tried over the counter treatments and have not noticed an improvement in your acne and the condition is causing you distress, you may wish to consider prescription medication. This is something you should discuss with a doctor before reaching a decision, as there are a number of acne treatment options available which are designed to treat different types of acne.
Yes, eventually acne should go away on its own, but this can take years. Severe acne can even cause permanent scarring.
There are a number of prescription medications available to treat acne, including gel treatments like Duac, solutions like Zineryt and tablets like Oxytetracycline and Roaccutane. You can find out more about the type of prescription medications we sell on our dedicated acne treatments page.
Yes, medications that are available on prescription will have undergone numerous clinical studies to ensure that they are safe as well as effective. However, some medications have a very high concentration with a possibility of causing negative side effects which can, in some cases, be very severe. For this reason, some medications like Roaccutane require you to undergo blood tests and numerous consultations to ensure that it will be safe for you to use.
It is important to understand that there is unfortunately no quick fix for acne. However, some treatments do work faster than others, particularly those that are available on prescription. The length of time it takes for noticeable improvements to be seen varies from several weeks to several months. Whichever treatment you choose, you should always follow the prescription instructions carefully to ensure you receive the full benefits while remaining safe from adverse side effects.