Key Points | Overview | What can I do? | Treatment & Medications | Clinical Resources for Clinicians
Acne is the term used to refer to the spots, blackheads and pimples most teenagers experience during their teen years. It is very common and can vary from very mild with only a few spots, through to severe with large cystic lesions that are painful and leave scarring. The good thing is we now have a wide range of creams, lotions and medicines that can treat and prevent long-term problems.
Acne can also occur in infants (infantile acne), with prolonged use of skin care products (acne cosmetica), as a side effect of some medications (especially steroids) or as rosacea, a facial rash with redness, papules and pustules that typically occurs in women aged 30-50 years.
To help learn about acne, here is an excellent video covering what it is, why is it important and how to treat it. (Assoc Professor Mike Evans, Toronto University)
- Acne is very common in teenagers (80-90% develop some acne) so you are not alone!
- Diet is not considered a factor in acne, but if you notice increased acne after certain foods, (eg chocolate) discuss with your doctor and trial avoiding them.
- Avoid picking and squeezing blackheads.This can make them worse and lead to scarring.
- Avoid oily or creamy cosmetics, moisturisers and use cosmetics sparingly
- Acne usually settles by the age of 20 years, if not earlier.
- With treatment, most people can significantly reduce their acne symptoms.
For general information about acne, visit the following webpages or resources.
Everyone has an opinion as to what will help with acne - some of it is helpful and some is misleading! Find out for yourself, talk with your parents and your local pharmacist about what may work for you. If these simple measures have not helped, then do go and see your doctor. There are a wide range of treatments that can make a big difference.
In the last 20 years, treatment options for acne have improved significantly. The severe scarring that some people used to experience can be prevented in many cases if they receive proper review and treatment early enough. If you have mild acne, then often topical lotions (applied to the skin) is all you will need. For moderate to severe acne oral medication is usually required.
This section will be of most interest to clinicians (eg nurses, doctors, pharmacists and specialists).