Acne is a very common skin condition. It is often misunderstood. It occurs in the
vast majority of teenagers, but can continue into or indeed start in adult life.
Common acne (acne vulgaris) usually starts when hormone levels rise during puberty.
For many people it is mild and may settle, even without treatment, after a few years.
For others, however, the condition is more severe and prolonged. Acne may start later
in adulthood and continue through a patient's 30s, 40s and even 50s. Without treatment
it may cause scarring and have a major psychological impact. We see both typical
teenage acne sufferers and the more mature patients. Many acne sufferers receive
appropriate and effective treatment from their general practitioner. Others may feel
that their condition is not being taken seriously or may not be offered appropriate
treatment. A number of the newer treatments are not provided by the NHS and are only
available at specialist clinics such as Shropshire Skin Clinic.
Acne is caused by the effects of high levels of sebum, an oily substance produced
by the sebaceous glands that lie close to the hair follicles. The excess of oil in
the hair follicle causes the lining cells to thicken resulting in a blockage. This
produces an ideal environment for a build up of the acne bacteria called P.acnes.
This results in inflammation and production of pus.
The usual sites for acne are on the face, neck, chest and back where the sebaceous
glands are numerous and well developed. Blocked follicles which have not become inflamed
may form open comedones (blackheads) or closed comedones (whiteheads). When inflammation
develops, red spots and bumps, yellow pus-filled spots, and even large cysts may
develop. Larger lumps and cysts are particularly likely to cause scarring. Acne vulgaris
is usually easily recognised by the appearance of the spots, and by their distribution
on the face, neck, chest or back. There are other types of acne including acne rosacea
and other causes of spotty rashes on the face and body which may be misdiagnosed
as common acne.
There is no need for anyone to put up with their acne. Even the mildest acne may
cause significant psychological distress in some people. More severe acne runs the
risk of scarring and this will be lifelong. There are many ways of treating acne
and at Shropshire Skin Clinic we aim to suggest the most suitable treatment for the
needs of the individual.