Top 10 problems


1. Scarring

Everyone with acne worries about possible scarring. Scarring is best prevented by getting rid of the acne. Fortunately, there are many methods dermatologists can use to improve the scarring caused by acne. Read the section on scarring for up-to-date information.

2. Stopping your medication
You may be tempted to stop your medication once your acne has cleared up. Never stop on your own – always ask your dermatologist first. If you stop your medication too soon, or even if you change the dose, your acne might flare up again.

3. Stress
Although stress doesn’t cause acne, it can make things worse. It is a bit of a vicious circle – you become stressed because of your acne, and as a result of this stress, your acne gets worse. Fortunately exercise, relaxation techniques, stress management and getting your priorities right go a long way towards managing and releasing stress.

4. Loneliness and withdrawal
You may feel so bad about the way you look and you may think that no-one wants to be with you. You would rather stay at home than to go to school or to be with friends and this makes you feel very lonely.

Remember that acne is a passing phase if you treat it properly – with the right medication, your acne will improve. Don’t isolate yourself as this could cause social problems that may last far longer than your skin problem.

5. Menstruation a menace
Acne seems to rise and fall with the menstrual cycle. Skin breakouts can follow the same or a similar 28-day cycle as the menstrual period, flaring just before bleeding starts, and calming down soon after bleeding begins.

6. Oops! Forgot to take oral medication?
Ask your dermatologist or doctor what you should do if you have skipped a day. In most cases, don’t double up the next day. Just get back into the routine as soon as possible.

7. Low self-esteem and depression
Acne, particularly severe acne, can have an impact on your self confidence and the way you feel about yourself. Many people with acne become depressed because their acne makes them unhappy, they feel hopeless to do anything about their situation, have become withdrawn and don’t seem to enjoy anything anymore.

Although you may feel that no-one will understand how you feel, it always helps to speak to someone you trust. Discuss your concerns with your parents, your doctor or someone close to you. Fortunately, depression is something which can be treated very easily. If you feel you need help, speak to your doctor about how you feel. He/she will definitely be able to help.

8. Over-washing
Because many people mistakenly think that acne is caused by dirt, they tend to over-wash their skins. By washing your skin, you can actually make spots worse, as it strips away facial oils, stimulating the sebaceous glands to produce even more sebum.

9. I've started treatment but my skin gets worse!
Acne is a fluctuating condition and it may take several weeks before a clinical improvement is visible. It is possible for your skin to get worse before it gets better, so don't stop taking your medication - give it a chance to work.

10. Table salt
While we now know that what you eat doesn’t cause acne or make it worse, it is best to avoid iodised table salt as it can aggravate acne in some people.

(Health24, updated April 2011)

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