Acne is one of the most common skin complaints, suffered by more than 80 per cent of people at some stage, but particularly during pubescent years. Up to 14 per cent of those people consult their GP and 0.3 per cent see a dermatologist. Acne is easily recognisable by red spots and/or blackheads or whiteheads, particularly on the face. The effects can range from mild to severe, with the worst cases causing serious long term-effects such as scarring and psychological problems, as well as possible suicidal tendencies.

Acne is caused by infected plugged hair follicles. Just under the skin sit tiny sebaceous glands attached to hair follicles.The glands produce sebum to lubricate the hair and the skin to stop them drying. However, in acne, they produce too much sebum. At the same time, the skin sheds dead skin cells, which mix with the excess sebum to form a plug in the follicle. These can then produce either a whitehead, if close to the skin surface, or a blackhead, if the follicle is open to the skin.

To read the full article by Catriona Williams, director at talkhealth click here



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