What you need to know about acne and the best ways to handle it 8 months ago

What you need to know about acne and the best ways to handle it

Acne can be a b*tch.

If you have it, then you'll know all about it. It can be sore, tender to touch, and we won't even talk about how ugh it can make us feel on the inside, and out.

But the good news is, it doesn't last forever and there are many ways that you can treat it (and cover it up).

Firstly, what exactly is it?

Well, according to the HSE, it's "a chronic skin condition that affects most people at some point during their life. It causes spots to develop on the skin, usually on the face, back and chest."

Yep, we all know that. But what causes it?

It all starts with our sebaceous glands. "Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of your skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles. A hair follicle is a small hole in your skin that an individual hair grows out of.

"[With] acne, the glands begin to produce too much sebum. The excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and both substances form a plug in the follicle."

If the blocked follicle is near to the skin, it will produce a raised bump and cause a whitehead. If the follicle is open to the skin, it causes a blackhead.

Unfortunately when you're a teenager, increased levels of testosterone in both males and females can cause more oil to produce in the sebaceous glands.

When you're an adult, acne can also occur but mainly with women. "It is thought that many cases of adult acne are a result of the changes in hormone levels that many women will experience at certain points during their life."

It can happen when you have your period, when you're pregnant and even when you're on some medications.

So, what's the best way to treat it?

If you have mild acne, there are a number of treatments you can use:

  • benzoyl peroxide
  • topical retinoids
  • topical antibiotics
  • azelaic acid
  • antibiotics

As always, speak with your doctor to find out what the best course of treatment is for you, however, don't be taken aback if they think that going on the pill is best, or even Isotretinoin (Roaccutane).

Many people have taken the oral contraception pill to clear acne (including me), and it can work wonders. While you might not see a difference within two to three months, there will definitely be a difference in the long run.

But as for Roaccutane; "Isotretinoin works in the same way as topical retinoids but the medication has a much stronger effect. Due to this, isotretinoin can only be prescribed by a dermatologist."

However, there are risks when taking Roaccutane, so always speak to your dermatologist about any concerns you might have.

And as for covering it?

While many doctors told me to only use certain makeup/don't wear any at all, obviously having acne can put a dent in your confidence and you might feel like you have to hide it to some degree.

According to the HSE, "there is no evidence that wearing makeup causes spots but the less you touch your skin, the fewer bacteria will be spread on your skin."

The tips that I learned was to only apply make-up with clean brushes and try not to use a foundation that is too oil-based.

Take off your makeup every night and make sure you cleanse and tone your face. You can ask your pharmacist which skin care products are the best for you.