Want to know the difference between acne and spots? There isn’t one, according to Dr Anjali Mahto of the British Association of Dermatologists. How many spots you have is irrelevant – even a few can really bother people. Those afflicted can become anxious, avoid social events and even stop going to work. “The mistake people make is to think acne is a cosmetic condition,” says Mahto. So if you think you might have acne, you probably do.
Adult-onset acne starts at around the age of 23 but can occur at any age in people who have never had spots before. Mahto says it affects 20% of women compared with 8% of men. It is a condition largely caused by genetics and hormones and not, as myth would have it, through dirty skin and too many chips. Even after the menopause women can suffer from acne – the male hormone androgen, in excessive amounts, is linked to the condition, but women produce it too, and during the menopause oestrogen levels drop and so the proportion of androgen rises. This causes a build up of dead skin cells and increased oil production, clogging up the hair follicles. Bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) move in and the skin erupts in pustules, nodules (bumps) and cysts. Nodules that are inflamed and push deeper into the skin can be painful for weeks and cause scarring. Click here to read the full article.