Acne is one of the most common skin diseases. It affects over 80% of Australian teenagers and some adults. It impacts on the quality of life and self esteem of those affected as severe cases may result in scarring.
Acne is thought to be hormonally driven in conjunction with proliferation of the acne bacterium P. acnes. It is not due to inadequate skin cleansing nor to certain foods.
- Lesions are usually confined to the head, neck and upper trunk.
- They vary in severity from comedones (white heads and black heads) through to papules and pustules, to larger nodulocystic lesions.
- Even small inflammatory lesions may cause scarring. Repeated picking is not recommended as it may also result in preventable scarring.
Fortunately all grades of acne respond to treatment.
- Treatments range from topical creams and gels, usually containing a vitamin A preparation and/or benzoyl peroxide, to courses of oral antibiotics.
- In severe or resistant cases, isotretinoin treatment can be used.
- Females also have the option of hormonal therapy in the form of a suitable contraceptive pill.
- Acne scarring is usually treated with a laser or a skin needling procedure.
- The earlier effective treatment is initiated the better the long term outcome.