It is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19. It generally disappears in the mid-twenties but about 5% of women and 1% of men experience problems over the age of 25. Acne most commonly develops on the face then the back and chest and, although it cannot be cured, it can be controlled with self-help techniques, creams and lotions.
Developing acne, which can range from blackheads to nodules and cysts, is normally associated with hormonal changes in puberty that cause the grease-producing glands next to hair follicles in the skin to produce larger amounts of oil. The excess mixes with dead skin cells and clogs the follicles leading to contamination.
More than 80% of adult acne occurs in women with hormone changes due to periods, pregnancy and the common condition, polycystic ovary syndrome. Other triggers for outbreaks of acne are some cosmetics, certain medications and smoking.
A GP examination can determine the severity and then provide prescription medicines such as topical creams. Dermatologists are on hand at the hospital to advise on all aspects of acne as well as conduct a wide range of treatments from mild to severe and persistent outbreaks. They can manage conditions and also provide procedures to treat scarring. Laser treatments can remove patches of scarred skin and produce smooth-looking new areas or to stimulate collagen growth to repair scar damage. Dermabrasion removes the top layer of skin to enhance healing and other techniques surgically remove scars and level out areas of skin.