Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes pimples and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulder. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.

There are four main factors that contributes to the cause of acne. Excess oil production, hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells, bacteria and excess activity of a type of hormone (androgens). The risk factors include being a teenager, hormonal changes especially with women. If both of your parents had acne, you’re likely to develop it too. Stress does not cause acne but might worsen it if you already have acne. The clinical presentation of acne includes whiteheads (closed plugged pores), blackheads (open plugged pores), small red, tender bumps (papules), pimples (pustules) which are papules with pus at their tips, large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules), painful, pus filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions).

If self-care remedies don’t clear your acne, see your primary care doctor. He or she can prescribe stronger medications. If acne persists or is severe, you may want to seek medical treatment from a doctor who specializes in the skin (dermatologist). Most studies of acne medications involved people 12 years of age or older. If your child younger than 12 years has acne, consider consulting a dermatologist. Alternative and integrative medicine approaches used in the treatment of acne include fish oil, brewer’s yeast, probiotics, oral zinc and topical tree oil. More research is needed to establish the potential effectiveness and long-term safety of these and other integrative approaches. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of specific treatments before you try them.

These therapies may be suggested in select cases, either alone or in combination with medications. Lasers and photodynamic therapy is a light-based therapy. Chemical peel, this procedure uses chemical solution such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinoic acid. Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads, your doctor may use special tools to gently remove whiteheads and blackheads. Steroid injection, nodular and cystic lesions can be treated by injecting a steroid drug directly into them. Dr. Makemba Shayela Nelson – MBChB – University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Nesha Medical Practice.