Acne is a very common skin disease affecting both males and females between the age of 15 and 24 years of age.

Adolescent males between the age of 13-25 are more likely to get severe acne due to their high hormone levels but this usually settles down during their 20's. Females also are likely to get acne after puberty but are more likely to have ongoing acne that may be troublesome into the 30's and 40's.

Acne commonly occurs in areas that have the most oil glands on the skin such as the face, back, shoulders, neck and chest. If there is a family history of acne you are more likely to experience problems.

Causes of Acne

Acne is caused by blockages in the pores of the skin that produce oil (sebaceous glands).  Androgens are hormones that increase during puberty and it is these hormones that cause the sebaceous gland to enlarge and produce excess sebum (oil).  At the same time the skin cells multiply and can cause blockages. Bacteria that live on everyone's skin feed off the sebum and overgrow causing an infection in the pore.

Symptoms of Acne

Acne appears as swollen, red, pussy lesions on the face, back, shoulders, neck and chest.

Treatment of Acne

The following are lifestyle factors that can make a big impact on your acne:

  • Healthy Diet - chocolate does not make acne worse! A diet that is low GI, rich in protein, legumes, nuts, vegetables and fruit has clinical evidence to show an improvement in acne but this alone will not get rid of your acne
  • Maintaining a healthy weight – in females oestrogens are converted to androgen like hormones by fat. Reducing fat stores can help to minimise acne problems
  • Quitting smoking
  • Stress can lead to changes in hormones that cause breakouts of acne
  • Some moisturisers and makeup can make acne worse
  • Sun exposure and solariums can make inflamed areas turn dark
  • Picking or squeezing pimples does make your skin worse and increases the risk of scarring
  • Never use soap to wash your skin.  Use a wash that has a pH of 6 and is fragrance, and colour free

Benzoyl Peroxide works by destroying the bacteria P.Acnes and has been shown in some studies to be just as effective as oral antibiotics, and as such should be tried first.  Benzoyl Peroxide comes in different strengths and as a cream, gel or wash.

Next Steps

It is best to talk to your Pharmacy 777 Pharmacist who can tell you which treatment is more suited to your skin condition.  Using the product incorrectly can actually make your acne worse and also cause skin peeling.

Talk to your Pharmacist about your cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen and acne treatment that will be best for your skin. The Pharmacist can also help you to select a nutritional supplement with clinical evidence and will choose one that is suitable with any other conditions you have or medications you may take.
If our Pharmacists feel it is necessary you will be referred to a GP and on request the Pharmacist can write a referral outlining the treatment used to date and the concerns that need to be investigated.


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