Everyone gets spots from time to time, but if you have a large amount and they won't seem to go away, this could be acne.
What is acne?
Acne is very common in young people. It is an inflammation of the skin that affects the pores and oil glands attached to them.
Acne is NOT caused by being 'dirty' or by eating lots of chips and chocolate. It is caused by the ever-changing hormones that circulate around your body.
Acne is a response in the skin to normal levels of the male hormone, testosterone. Both men and women have testosterone circulating in their blood but sometimes this can have an extreme effect on the skin, causing acne. This is kind of like an allergic reaction.
What can I do about it?
We know that acne can have a big effect on your confidence and self-esteem, and sometimes it might really get you down.
The good news is it won't last forever - acne can get better without treatment, but there is no way of predicting how long this can take.
There are a range of options that the doctor can try with you until you find something that works for you. If you don't feel that a treatment is working, go back to your doctor and tell them.
Acne can leave scars that are permanent so it's best to try and get it sorted out quickly. Make sure your doctor takes the issue seriously - after all it might be having a big effect on your emotional wellbeing.
You could speak to a school nurse - they offer weekly confidential 'drop-ins' in secondary schools. Send a text to ChatHealth (07507 333356) or ask in school to find out more.
Tips for managing acne
There are things you can do yourself to minimise acne and try to prevent new spots:
- Avoid touching your face - your hands have dirt and bacteria which can clog your pores and make acne worse
- Wash your face in the morning and before you go to bed - it's best to use warm water and a mild facial cleanser
- If your skin is dry, use an oil-free moisturiser
- If you wear makeup, try to find products that say they are 'non-comedogenic' as this won't irritate your skin as much
- Try to drink lots of water and eat plenty of fruit and veg, especially those with vitamin A and vitamin C
For more information and advice on acne and how to treat it, visit the NHS website.