Acne, while not an illness, is a skin condition which can cause much
anxiety and unhappiness to adolescents. This 'rash' of spots, appears mainly
on the face, neck and shoulders, and boys are more frequently affected than
Causes of acne
At puberty - any time between eleven and fourteen years - the skin
becomes extremely greasy, because of the extra activity of the sebaceous
glands in the skin. These glands become activated by the hormones produced
at this stage in human development. The pores of the skin can become blocked
with this extra secretion ( sebum ) from the glands, and the blockage then
becomes the blackhead so commonly seen as a part of acne. If the blackheads then become
inflamed, they develop into pimples and boils. Infection
can play a part in producing pimples and boils, but chemical changes in the secretion from the glands are the main
Treatment for acne
Acne is usually a self-limiting disease in as much as, once
the hormonal changes of puberty are over, the skin and
sebaceous glands settle down. But it is at the very age when
boys and girls are becoming aware of their appearance, and
want to look attractive, that acne can be the biggest
problem. So it is important that everything possible is done
to reduce the effects of acne to a minimum:
1 Washing the face in hot water at frequent intervals will
do much to remove blackheads before they can turn into
2 A number of lotions are available from chemist's, or on
prescription from your doctor, for the treatment of acne.
One that has a drying effect will counteract the excessive
greasiness that plays such a large part in this condition.
3 Acne tends to improve during the summer. The ultra-violet light in sunlight dries the skin and this accounts for
the beneficial affects. So it follows that a boy or girl with
acne should avoid using greasy suntan oils. An ultra-violet
lamp can be used during winter months, but great care
must be taken to ensure that skin is not burned by too long
an exposure. Eyes should also be covered when using an
ultra-violet lamp to avoid possible damage to them.
4 Antibiotic cream can be prescribed for long-term use if
the condition is very severe. These creams will eliminate
infection of the spots, they also have a beneficial reaction
on the chemical composition of the sebum.
Acne can cause much adolescent misery, and it is of little
comfort to the sufferer to tell him - or her - that the spots
will improve as he or she matures. Life at adolescence is
lived in the present, and long-term cures are inconceivable.
Fortunately, while acne cannot be cured instantly, much
can be done to improve the condition until a natural
recession of the spots occurs.