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Acne Vulgaris: What causes spots and how to deal with them

Updated on November 22, 2011

A great many teenagers, and many adults, suffer from acne vulgaris. For many the problem can be debilitating and lead to them becoming withdrawn, lonely, anxious and even suicidal. This is not just limited to teenage boys and often girls, and older women suffer with acne, too.

Thankfully, the medical treatment of acne has improved greatly over the last ten years and there is always a way that acne can be managed and eventually cured. There's also a wealth of alternative therapies, treatments and medicines available now that can also help to beat acne.

The root cause of acne is usually an Increase in male sex hormones during puberty which occurs in both boys and girls. These androgen hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands within hair follicles to produce more sebum, causing blocking of the glands. Common skin bacteria feed on the sebum, producing waste products and fatty acids that irritate and inflame the sehacenus glands; this results in pimples containing the degraded fatty acids.

Clear skin: Acne can be beaten with the right treatment
Clear skin: Acne can be beaten with the right treatment

Acne can present as whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, cysts and nodules and can lead to scarring of the skin. lt occurs in the areas of skin containing the most sebaceous follicles, so is often seen on the face, upper chest and upper back. Acne often causes inflammation of the sensitive skin, making it red and sore.

Acne usually first appears on the nose then on the forehead, chin and cheeks. During teenage years, acne can drastically reduce self esteem; it can cause psychological stress and be socially disabling. Acne usually lessens or disappears over time, although it can continue into middle age for the unlucky few.

Early treatment is recommended. Cleanse the face gently twice daily, don‘t pick at or squeeze spots, keep hair clean and off the face and use water based moisturisers as oily or greasy creams or foundations can block the pores.

There is no scientific evidence of diet influencing acne but a healthy diet, plenty of water and regular exercise is always advisable. lf there is no improvement after a couple of months, consult a doctor. Topical or oral antibiotics, retinoids, a contraceptive pill or preparations containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be prescribed, when appropriate, by a doctor or dermatologist and can profoundly improve the condition of the skin.

If you are a young person suffering from acne vulgaris, do not despair. The condition is very common and usually treatable — seeks help now and look forward to a clearer skin and regaining your confidence.

One of the most important things to remember is to not let spots rule your life. Try to pay them little attention. After all, the more we focus on something the greater the problem becomes (just try reading The Secret!).

Try and do healthy activities that make you feel good, joyful and relaxed. Sports can be great for this. Also, spending time in nature and particularly around animals can work wonders. The positive hormones that are released into your body during these good times will help to regulate emotions feelings and hormones.


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    • profile image

      clare graham 

      6 years ago

      hey you gues out ther you are so so so lucky that you JUST

      have spots and not a disability so stop complanen and get a life [SPOTS ARNTE EVERYTHING]!!

    • Rickrideshorses profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from England


      It's certainly a good idea to try and get your 12-year-old to have regular baths and face washes. That's the age to start and get into good habits. It's almost always easier to take preventative measures than it is to get rid of spots one they're there!

      Thanks for the feedback and good luck with your daughter!

    • natures47friend profile image


      7 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.


      My 12 year old seems to have the odd spot and tries to avoid bathing....stubborn. I am so pleased you wrote this hub because I am going to show her and try to get her to read it. She does not like reading and it is stressful getting reading homework or any homework done for that matter! But should she see this hub she might actually listen to me .....well hoping anyway!

      I have bookmarked this hub, voted up and clicked on interesting.

      And hey...I'm first at commenting!


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