Health Zone: Questions about Acne
SPOTS and wrinkles shouldn't go together. But outbreaks are something that seem to afflict us all, man or woman. Here, TABITHA STAPELY gives the lowdown on everything you need to know about adult acne.QUESTION 1. What is adult acne?
SPOTS. Dr Tony Chu, head of dermatology at Imperial College, London, says acne ranges from blackheads and whiteheads to pimples (surface spots) and deeper cysts which can leave scarring.
He explains: "Adult acne sounds like a serious condition that lasts for life, but it is caused by the same factors as teenage acne, it looks the same and it is just as curable."
QUESTION 2. What causes a spot?
PROF John Hawk, consultant dermatologist at St Thomas's Hospital, London, says: "Acne starts with a blockage of the sebaceous gland, often caused by dead skin cells clogging up pores.
"This prevents the discharge of oil so that it builds up, allowing bacteria to breed and inflame into a spot."
The bacteria are slightly acidic - causing itching.
QUESTION 3: Why do you get acne?
IT is partially genetic - if your parents suffered from acne, you are likely to develop it too. The next most recognised factors are stress and high levels of androgen, the male hormone responsible for oil secretions.
"Adult acne is common in businesswomen with stressful lives," says Dr Chu.
Most people can cope with the odd spot, but living with serious acne can have a devastating effect on self-confidence.
QUESTION 4: What are the myths about acne?
CHOCOHOLICS will be pleased to know there is no direct link between eating chocolate and spots. Prof Hawk says: "A bad diet may exacerbate acne, but it there is no proof that it causes it."
By the same token, drinking lots of water won't clear your skin.
Acne starts below the surface of the skin, so neither dirty skin nor obsessive cleansing has much effect on it.
QUESTION 5: How do you avoid spots?
IDENTIFY what your trigger is. If stress brings you out in a rash, learn about stress management. …