Treatment explanation

What is acne?

Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition characterised by spots called blackheads, whiteheads and pustules which can appear on the face, back and chest. Although harmless, they can cause much distress and, in some cases, leave marks called pick-axe scars which look like tiny indentations in the skin.

Acne usually starts in puberty and tends to resolve by the early twenties. However, in some people, it can persist throughout their 30s and even 40s. Indeed, some people who have never had spots and pimples in their youth may develop them in adulthood. It has been noted in individuals that have a lot of stress in their lives.

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What causes acne?

People who get acne are sensitive to a hormone called testosterone, which is present in both men and women. This causes their sebaceous glands to produce too much oil. In addition, the dead skin cells lining the pores do not shed properly and clog up the follicles. The build-up of oil within the follicle creates an ideal environment for the acne bacteria (P-acnes) that lives on the surface of the skin to multiply. This triggers inflammation and the formation of spots.

Acne is often hereditary but can also be a symptom of a hormone imbalance caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome, stress or a poor diet.

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