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Acne is a common skin condition that causes spots to develop on the skin, usually on the face, back and chest.

Acne is very common among teenagers but usually gets better after the teen years. Some women who never had acne when growing up may have it in adulthood, often right before their menstrual periods.

Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and lead to scarring of the skin.

Causes

Acne starts when oil and dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores and if germs get into the pores, the result may be swelling, redness, and pus.

Hormonal changes during puberty also cause acne as they make the skin more oily.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of acne include whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. These can be found on the face, neck, shoulders, back, or chest. Pimples that are large and deep are called cystic lesions. They can be painful if they get infected and can scar the skin.

Treatment

Although acne cannot be cured, it can be controlled with treatment. Acne treatments work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection or reducing the inflammation.

Your doctor or dermatologist may recommend a topical medication you apply to your skin or oral medication. Note that oral prescription medications for acne should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.

Several creams, face washes, astrigents, lotions and gels with components like benzoyl peroxide are available at pharmacies.

Prevention

There are steps you can take to keep acne from getting worse;

  • Gently wash and care for the skin every day. Do not scrub too hard or wash too often
  • Avoid heavy sweating and wash your face immediatley after activities that cause you to sweat
  • Wash your hair more often if your hair and try to keep your hair off of your face
  • Avoid hair care products such as pomades, petrolatum etc. that contain a lot of oil.
  • Avoid touching your face

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