Common ailments

Acne

I’m worried about my 16 year old daughter who suffers with severe acne on her face. Her skin always looks sore and irritated and it is affecting her every day life. She’s lost her confidence and avoids leaving the house unless she absolutely has to. She’s tried most of the treatments available on the high street but nothing seems to be helping. I just want her to be her happy self again. What can I do to help her?

Acne is a skin condition that commonly affects young people. It causes spots to develop on the skin and these can range from blackheads and whiteheads on the surface of the skin to deep, inflamed pustules and cysts. The causes of acne vary but the most common cause is changes in the body’s hormone levels which affect the oil producing glands next to the hair follicles in the skin.

Although there isn’t a cure for acne, there are things your daughter can do to help control it. Washing the affected area twice a day with a mild cleanser will keep the skin clean to prevent new spots from developing. Scrubbing the skin should be avoided however as this will only irritate the skin further and dry it out. A light moisturiser will keep the skin hydrated without clogging the skin’s pores.

Treatments in the form of lotions and creams are also available to help control acne. It is great that you have done a trial and error run on so many treatment products from the high street selection. If however your daughter hasn’t noticed any improvement after a couple of months of using these products then it is worth seeking advice from your local pharmacist. They may be able to advise on more suitable products, such as one containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide.

If your daughter’s acne is quite severe then your GP may be able to offer alternative treatment options such as antibacterial cream or antibiotics to target the acne and prevent it from scarring. It is important that your daughter avoids the temptation to pick or squeeze her spots as this could cause internal infections and/or permanent scarring. Exercising and eating healthily will also help your daughter to feel better and alleviate stress which could be a contributing factor to her acne.

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