Tuesday, 30 October 2018 09:23

Acne: Do something about it! Featured

In the course of a week consulting as a GP it is not uncommon to see a patient, presenting with some other issue, who has a problem with acne. Often it is not mentioned, but some of our most grateful patients are those with whom we raise the issue and ask if they would like some help with managing it.

People often don’t seek medical help out of embarrassment, a sense of resignation that it is a stage they have to go through, a feeling that it is not important enough to raise or frustration with many treatments they have unsuccessfully tried. The myths and misinformation about acne in the community are also unhelpful.

Some important points to note are:

  •  Acne is an important problem. It can cause lifelong scarring if left too long untreated. It impacts upon self-confidence and self esteem at the particularly vulnerable stage of adolescence where young people are establishing their own identity and sense of self worth. It is also associated with depression and anxiety at any stage of life.
  • When it occurs acne can be a chronic condition for many years. Treatments take time to work but with persistence and patience they usually work well. A consistent effort is needed by the sufferer to ensure the best result.
  • Although it is more common in adolescence it can occur at any time of life.
  • It is generally more common in male teenagers but women are more likely to have acne that either persists into adulthood or indeed may start as an adult.
  • The type of treatment recommended will depend upon the stage of the acne and the success of previous attempts at control.
  • Severe acne is a severe disease and will require dermatologist review and the prescribing of medication with great care. The alternative of leaving acne to permanently scar an individual should not be an option.

Beware the myths of acne:

  1. Acne is caused by poor hygiene – It is not
  2. Picking and squeezing pimple is ok – Avoid this as it encourages inflammation and scarring
  3. Eating chocolate causes acne – The good news is that this is not true
  4. Make-up and moisturisers don’t make acne worse – They can depending on the type
  5. Too many hormones cause acne – Acne is caused by an oversensitivity of the skin to a person’s own natural and normal levels of hormone.

An excellent starting resource for more practical information on acne can be found here:


So if you or one of those close to you is struggling with acne don’t delay. Seek medical help. Treating acne well can be very rewarding for both the patient and their doctor.

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