Acne is caused as a result of hair follicles in your skin becoming blocked with sebum (the natural oil produced by your skin) and dead skin cells.
What is acne?
Follicles are connected to a sebaceous gland situated immediately underneath the surface of your skin. The function of the sebaceous glands is to produce sebum to keep your skin moist and supple.
Ideally the sebum travels up the follicle and exits the body through pores in the skin. Unfortunately if your body produces too much sebum, combined with dead skin cells getting trapped in your pores, spots will form. This is particularly common in teenagers of both sex.
Approximately four in five adolescents suffer from some form of acne. Often the symptoms disappear as one grows into adulthood. However it is not that uncommon for adults, especially woman (up to 1 in 20), to suffer from acne well into their 20's and 30's.
Symptoms and treatment of acne
Moderate forms of acne often result in greasy skin with whiteheads/blackheads spots forming on the face, neck, shoulders and back area. Normally this can be treated with 'over the counter' medication.
If the acne is more severe and stubborn you should go and see your GP. Please do not suffer alone with acne and let your confidence be affected. Prescribed medication could greatly help control your symptoms.
Your GP may prescribe a cream, oral antibiotics, oral contraceptives (for females) or in more severe cases oral retinoids.