Acne (pimples) is a medical condition experienced by 85% of teenagers. Getting the correct treatment can help avoid emotional distress and skin scars.

What is acne?

Under the skin surface are oil glands. Natural holes (pores) allow the glands to release oil upwards to the surface. Normally oil helps to keep skin soft. But when there’s too much oil, your pores can become blocked and form a plug.

Teenagers make more oil than children due to hormonal changes of puberty. Other possible aggravating factors include: oily cosmetics, stress, humidity and a high-sugar diet.

Plugs develop into different types. For example, a blackhead is a plug that opens and allows air in, which makes skin pigment turn black (it’s not due to dirt, as commonly believed). There are also whiteheads, swollen pimples and inflamed, red and pus-filled pimples if a bacterial infection develops.

Treatment

The correct treatment depends on the acne type and severity. For example, some mild acne cases may clear on their own and just require general skin care including:

  • Don’t squeeze
  • Soap-free skin cleanser twice daily
  • Don’t overwash
  • Eat a healthy diet

In contrast, other mild cases and moderate and severe acne, need treatment. The options include:

  • Skin ointments: anti-bacterials, antibiotics, retinoids
  • Tablets: antibiotics, retinoids, contraceptive pill

For example, for severe acne due to bacterial infection, which needs to be treated as early as possible to prevent scars, antibiotic tablets may be recommended. Speak to your doctor for help.

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