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20 Sep 2016

How to Treat Acne: Getting Out of a Spot of Bother

We all suffer from skin blemishes from time to time, but for many of us skin problems may go one step further and develop into acne. Acne is a condition that can seriously impact on our confidence levels, as well as how we feel in social situations, so it’s important to know how to treat acne effectively.

While it is recommended that people with very severe acne seek specialist advice from a professional dermatologist, there are many over-the-counter gels, creams and face washes for acne that can help to address less severe cases. Today we are outlining some of the acne treatments available here at Rowlands Pharmacy and sharing a few facts about acne, to ‘clear up’ some of the most prevalent myths about its causes and treatment.


The acne severity scale

There are a few different ways of assessing the severity of acne, with one of the most popular systems grading on a scale of 1-4.

In the least severe cases, sufferers may notice cone-shaped ‘papules’ topped with small deposits of sebum popping up in areas such as their cheeks, chin or forehead. The most severe acne cases are likely to be made up of ‘nodules’ (small rounded lumps), cysts and even scarring, which can be visible on the face and other body areas like the back and upper chest.


What are the causes of acne?

Acne occurs when tiny glands on your skin, the hair follicles, become blocked. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including that your body may be over-producing sebum made by these glands, which along with dead skin cells can cause your pores to block. Hormone changes, smoking, some medications and use of some cosmetic products and puberty can all contribute to acne too.

Revealing the truth about acne myths

If you’re an acne sufferer, you may find yourself putting your skincare routine under scrutiny and questioning whether you ought to be cleansing your skin more often or using stronger products. In fact, over-cleansing your skin when you’re suffering from acne could cause more harm than good.

As long as you follow a daily skincare routine that involves gently washing the area twice a day (as well as post-exercise to remove sweat), you’re already taking a sensible approach. When choosing products for treating acne and cleansing your skin, you should also take into account the severity of your acne. Using products that are meant for more severe cases could that you’re using overly harsh products on your skin, which may cause irritation and further exacerbate the problem.

How to get rid of acne

It’s not always possible to prevent acne entirely but there are measures you can take to ensure you don’t make the problem worse.

Firstly, don’t be tempted to over-wash your skin and when you do wash, try to use warm water rather than water that is hot or cold. Use non-comedogenic cosmetic products, avoid wearing heavy makeup and always ensure you remove any makeup fully before bedtime.

Finally, don’t be tempted to poke and squeeze spots as along with spreading bacteria, this can lead to permanent scarring.

Acne treatments

The Rowlands Pharmacy acne treatment range includes over-the-counter gels, creams, and face washes that effectively cleanse and treat acne prone skin. This includes antibacterial facial cleansers from FREEDERM, which can help keep skin clear. You’ll also find topical spot treatments, including remedies that use natural antiseptics such as tea tree oil and witch hazel.

We also offer medicated acne treatments such as OXY-on-the-spot, PanOxyl and Acnecide, which contain different levels of benzoyl peroxide. Suitable for mild to medium cases of acne, benzoyl peroxide products reduce inflammation, kill germs and help to unblock pores. These types of medication can take up to around three months to take effect, so it may take some time for you to be able to notice a difference – don’t be put off!

If your acne is very severe, we would always recommend that you seek professional advice from a dermatologist, or your GP. For further information on how to treat acne, visit our acne Advice Centre page.