Acne : 4 things you didn’t know

moleAcne is a common problem which many teenagers face at the onset of puberty, and which some people continue to struggle with through their adult life. It can be extremely upsetting, with painful outbreaks which leave visible scars on the face, neck and back. But did you know…

Acne can affect children as young as seven or eight

A Canadian dermatologist recently reported that it’s not just teenagers and adults coming into his office with acne – he’s seeing children as young as seven or eight suffering from the painful and often unsightly condition.  Dr Paul Cohen told the Canada AM show that he believes this to be the new normal; although it’s hard to say why puberty is occurring at an earlier age, with theories including environmental triggers and obesity, it’s becoming more and more common.

Acne isn’t caused by greasy foods or chocolate

There’s no evidence that diet has any effect on acne – although of course, a healthy diet is important for you. Other acne myths say that it’s caused by bad hygiene – in fact cleaning your skin too much can make the condition worse by removing vital oils – and by wearing too much make-up.

Acne bacteria may not all be bad

Scientists still struggle to explain the causes of acne – although twin studies show a strong indication that many cases are linked by a genetic predisposition – but a recent study into the genetics of bacteria associated with acne indicates that some strains may in fact help prevent skin disease. The study means that it may be possible to isolate better treatments for particular strains in future – but the scientists involved suspect that further study may show that what we call acne is actually several different skin conditions.

Acne can be treated with light

There are a range of treatments for acne, both over-the-counter and prescription, including lotions which may contain etinoids (vitamin A), topical antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid, and female sufferers are often advised to take contraceptive pills which contain oestrogen to reduce their symptoms. However, more recently a range of therapies using light have been developed, and these are now at the stage where they can be used in your own home.