Acne, often called pimples, is a rash that is caused by inflamed sebaceous glands. Acne is common and completely harmless. Often, acne occurs on the face, chest, and back where you have the most sebaceous glands. Acne is not due to poor hygiene. It is possible to get rid of acne, although it may take some time.

People of all ages can get acne, but this is most common in their teens. It is the hormone changes in puberty that cause more sebum to form in the sebaceous glands. For the vast majority, acne disappears after puberty.

Symptoms of various types of acne

The type of acne that most commonly occurs in teens is called acne vulgaris, which means regular acne. It looks like small yellow or red raised rashes that often sore. Most often it sits in the face, but sometimes also on the chest and back. It mostly heals without leaving scars.

A more troublesome form of acne appears as large and sore tubers or hollow cysts deeper into the skin. The rash can swell and hurt. It is common for scars to appear when the acne has healed. You need to contact a doctor as tablet treatment for acne is always needed to reduce the risk of getting scars.

Some get acne first in adulthood or have their acne right up to their 50s. Such acne is called acne tarda. It can be difficult to distinguish adult acne from a skin disease called rosacea.

In some types of acne, the sealed openings of the sebaceous glands appear as black or white blackheads. The black is a color pigment and not dirt.

What can I do for myself?

You cannot prevent the formation of acne because both hormones, skin type and heredity are involved. But there are some things you can do yourself to reduce the hassle, even if it usually takes some time.

Wash once or twice a day

Acne has nothing to do with unclean skin. Therefore, it does not help to wash extra much. It is enough to wash once or twice a day. You can use a mild soap or face wash for oily and greasy skin, preferably without perfume.

You can try bathing with acne solution or massage with acne gel. They contain salicylic acid and do not block the sebaceous glands so easily.

Avoid fatty creams

Do not use oily creams and oils, as they clog the sebaceous glands and can aggravate acne.

You can use a fat-free gel if your skin gets dry. At pharmacies, there is a prescription-free, mild bactericidal cream that contains propylene glycol and is good for dry skin.

Don’t squeeze

Do not squeeze the acne, as the sebaceous gland can be damaged and inflammation worse. You should also not knit or cut yourself in a boil. This increases the risk of getting scars.

Sunbathing gently

Many people think that acne gets better during a sunny summer. The sun reduces inflammation in the skin. The acne can therefore temporarily get better if you sunbath gently without burning yourself. But sunbathing for a long time and so much that you’re sweating or using oily sunscreens can cause you to get acne.

Scars in the skin are often initially seen as small reddish-purple marks. These can remain for a longer time if you sunbathe. The time it takes for the scars to become skin-colored is thus extended by tanning.

Avoid foods that degrade acne

Some research has shown that you can get more acne if you eat very sweet things. The same goes for milk products in some cases. But there is other research that shows that it does not matter. If you find that something you eat improves or worsens your acne, you should trust it.

Be careful with makeup

Many people find it difficult to see acne, especially on the face. You may want to cover the acne with, for example, makeup. Makeup has not been shown to cause acne but can make the skin more irritated. Therefore, it may be good to be careful with makeup. Avoid using makeup that contains oils or other greases.

Hide with cover pins

You can use a special cover pin for oily and chubby skin. You can buy it at pharmacies and often in regular stores.

When and where should I seek care?

If you have a lot of acne, disturbed sores or if you get scars from the acne, contact a health care center, school health care or a youth clinic. The same is true if you are feeling bad about your acne.

You can also contact a health care center if you have been using non-prescription drugs for more than six weeks and have not improved.

Doctor’s examination

It is usually enough for the doctor to examine the skin and ask questions when seeking treatment for your acne. For the most part, no sampling is needed. Some other skin diseases and infections in the skin can cause symptoms similar to acne. You can get a referral to a dermatologist if the doctor at the health center is unsure.

Treatment of acne with drugs

You can try non-prescription medicines for acne if it does not help with acne solution or acne gel.

There are also prescription drugs that may be needed if you have severe acne or if non-prescription drugs do not help.

Because there are different types of acne, it is important to get the right treatment for acne.

Read more about drug treatment in acne.

Scars after acne

Acne almost always heals without any scars.

It is possible to grind scars, but the effectiveness of the treatment varies from person to person. It is done by a plastic surgeon or some dermatologist, but no earlier than a year after the acne is completely gone. Before that, the skin is too sensitive.

Grinding your skin is expensive and can cause other problems, such as being sensitive to the sun. It is only done on the skin of the face and not on other parts of the body. Therefore, it is better that you seek help early for your acne unless prescription drugs help.

What is the cause of acne?

At puberty, the hormone balance in the body changes and you get more sex hormones. They cause more sebum to form in the sebaceous glands that sit under the skin. Tallow is a type of fat that, together with skin remnants, closes the sebaceous gland opening and you get a blackhead mask.

At the same time, the level of a special bacterium that also plays a role in getting acne is increasing. Acne rashes are formed when the lower part of the sebaceous gland becomes inflamed. There are many sebaceous glands on the face, chest, and back, which is why acne occurs more often there.

Partly hereditary

Your inheritance has a certain significance for whether you get acne. The risk of getting a lot of acne is greater if one of your parents had severe acne in their teens. It is unusual for children of parents who did not have acne in their teens to get severe acne.

Every third teenager gets into trouble

Most young people have acne at some point. Girls get acne earlier than boys because they get to puberty earlier. Every third teenager between the ages of 12 and 17 has so much acne that they can benefit from some type of treatment. A small group has very troublesome acne which greatly impairs the quality of life.

Many women can continue to get acne temporarily before and during men’s well into adulthood.

Medicines, moisture, and heat can cause acne

You can get acne problems with various things. For example, it could be:

  • You use medicines with cortisone.
  • You are using medicines containing lithium.
  • You are using steroids.
  • Your skin comes into contact with oil in your work.
  • You work in a warm and humid environment.
  • You use greasy sunscreens.

Influence and participate in your care

You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country. Sometimes a referral  to the open specialized care is required.

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