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Acne causes the skin to break out in red spots, most commonly across the face, back and chest. The spots can vary, from surface blackheads and whiteheads to deep, inflamed, pustules and cysts. Acne can be severe, long lasting and may lead to scarring.
But acne isn't just a teenage problem. Adults also suffer from this skin condition and it can have a debilitating effect on confidence and wellbeing.
Acne can have a negative emotional impact on sufferers as it's hard to hide; everyone can see the skin on your face so any redness or spots are instantly noticeable. Around 80% of 11-30 year olds are to be affected, while in adults, 80% of cases occur in women.
Visible spots on the skin can be devastating, leaving you feeling depressed. According to AcneTreatment.org.uk, about 92% of acne sufferers feel depressed, while 14% have even felt suicidal.
Society and the media views only clear, flawless skin as beautiful, and this is why acne sufferers may be more prone to low self-esteem and feelings of depression.
Anyone with acne needs to acknowledge that their marked skin is nothing to be ashamed of; there are all kinds of reasons why acne occurs and it is usually triggered by a combination of genetic and physical factors.
Washing and keeping the skin clean is important, but it's recommended not to scrub the skin too hard or wash too frequently as this could irritate it. Use a mild soap and lukewarm water to avoid making your symptoms worse. If your acne is not severe, you doctor may recommend washing with a cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide.
If your skin is dry, try using an emollient moisturiser to treat this. There are various creams, lotions and gels available that are designed to be used with acne-prone skin.
Avoid touching or squeezing spots as this can make them worse. It can be difficult to resist, but try not to pick at your skin, as it can lead to permanent scarring.
Check your makeup as some cosmetic products can exacerbate the symptoms of acne. Non-comedogenic cosmetics are designed not to block pores, so look out for these. All makeup should be washed off every night before you go to bed.
Keep your hair away from your face. Long hair in particular contains oils that may contribute to skin breakouts. Washing your hair on a daily basis, especially after exercising, is also a good idea.
Prescription acne treatments are clinically proven to treat even severe acne. If you are concerned that your condition is not improving, speak to your doctor who will be able to recommend the best route for you. The options range from antibiotics and topical skin creams to hormonal treatments.
While acne can be devastating for those suffering with it, ultimately it's worth acknowledging that the condition is temporary. Your kin can and will improve over time, and any feelings of anxiety or depression associated with acne can be improved not only by treating your condition, but through regular exercise and a healthy diet, both of which can boost your mood and sense of wellbeing.