Acne (pimples) is a very common skin condition which mostly affects teenagers (8 out of 10 teenagers are affected to a degree), but can also persist for much longer in some adults. More common in boys, it usually affects the face but it may also affect chest, back and neck.
Acne can cause a combination of symptoms, including oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads papules, nodules and cysts. It mostly affects the face, back and chest. It tends to develop during puberty, when a surge in hormones causes an increase in oil production in certain areas. The pores and hair follicles on the skin become blocked, causing spots and pimples to appear.
In addition to the physical symptoms of acne, it can cause low self-esteem, discomfort or scarring in some people who suffer from it. Fortunately, treatments are available to manage and treat acne effectively, ranging from topical creams to oral medications depending on the severity of the condition. If you think you suffer from acne and would like to speak to a doctor about treatment going forward, contact our GPs today.
During puberty, an increase in certain hormones (usually testosterone) can overstimulate the body’s sebaceous glands. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which can become mixed with dead skin cells and bacteria to cause blocked follicles and pores. These blockages can then become inflamed and either bulge outwards, creating a whitehead, or they can open the pore, creating a blackhead. These blocked follicles are then more easily infected by bacteria that live on our skin. If this happens, papules, nodules or cysts may result.
Acne can run in families, and a number of factors can increase your likelihood of developing it:
Treating acne generally involves a multi-pronged approach.
Over-the-counter acne treatments are available for mild cases of the condition. It’s also recommended that skin is kept clean and hydrated as much as possible, with an appropriate skincare regime. If you suffer from acne, you can discuss your treatment options with a GP today.
If the acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations, the most important thing will be balancing those hormones out. One option available to help prevent these fluctuations is a certain contraceptive pill, but this is not appropriate for all women.
Book an appointment for a video consultation with a qualified New Zealand GP, who can discuss all this with you. If appropriate, we can arrange for the medications to be precsribed and delivered to you.