How to treat acne

The scourge of the teen years...

Zits, spots, pimples…call them what you will, they are the enemy of every teenager.

Eight out of 10 adolescents experience some degree of acne. Trying every antiseptic soap and lotion available, many spend hours squishing out blackheads and looking with horror on every new eruption.

However, teenagers don’t have a monopoly on acne. To their dismay many adults develop it for the first time in their 20s or 30s. Worse again, just when they thought they had left the ‘pimply youth’ stage behind them, many see acne breaking out again in their maturity.

Root of the problem

To understand how acne occurs, you need to have some understanding of skin. Skin consists of two thin layers — an outer layer called the epidermis and a deeper layer called the dermis. The dermis contains blood vessels and fibres which give the skin its elasticity.

The epidermis contains a hard protein called keratin, which helps protect the skin. Hairs are present everywhere on the skin’s surface apart from the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands and parts of the genitalia. Each hair has a root and a shaft. Small glands called sebaceous glands near the root secrete a fatty substance called sebum, which also gives the skin a protective covering. It is this area of hair and sebaceous glands that is affected when acne develops. And the substances keratin and sebum are major players in the development of acne. Bacteria at the site of a blocked gland aggravates the condition.

Acne affects areas of the skin that have a lot of sebaceous glands, such as the face, centre of the chest, the back above the waistline, shoulders and the neck.

A black and white issue

The primary defect in acne is thought to be that there is too much keratin produced at the exit of the hair shaft. This blocks the surface and doesn’t allow the sebum out. Too much sebum is also being produced. Consequently the sebum builds up underneath and a plug of keratin and sebum then forms. If the upper portion of this plug is at the surface it becomes dark in colour from pigment (melanin) produced by surrounding cells in the epidermis. The result is a blackhead. If the plug remains under the surface it is referred to as a whitehead.

Sometimes sebum will continue to be produced under the blackhead or whitehead and because it has no means of escape the sebaceous gland itself begins to swell and eventually bursts into the dermis underneath. Because sebum is not normally present in the dermis it causes irritation. Redness and inflammation occur and pus is formed. Occasionally, in severe cases the dermis reacts by trying to ‘wall off’ the sebum and acne cysts are formed during this process. Scarring is also a rare feature of severe cases.

But why?

Like many medical conditions there are many influencing factors. More sebum than usual is being produced but this alone does not necessarily cause acne. The sebum produced by people with acne contains an excess of substances called free fatty acids, which in some way affect the process. This excess production of sebum is also influenced by hormones and usually acne begins during puberty.

Many girls notice that their acne flares up pre-menstrually. This is because fluid retention which occurs coming up to a period causes keratin to swell and this aggravates the problem. Sometimes infants have acne spots in the first few months of life which simply disappear. These are thought to be caused by the mother’s hormones during pregnancy.

Like skin during acne, its exact cause is still unclear. One reason might be the increased presence during acne of a certain bacteria that is found on healthy skin. Some families also seem to be more prone to acne, but how it is inherited is not clearcut.

But one thing that seems fairly certain is that acne is not the result of poor hygiene. All the experts state that acne is not affected by diet; however, many people are convinced of the contrary.

Wash away

While lack of washing does not cause acne, frequent washing with soap and water will help by removing some of the excess keratin and sebum, and lessen the likelihood of blackhead formation. Removing blackheads with an extractor after soaking with a hot towel is useful.

There are preparations which break up keratin and allow drainage of sebum. It is best to start with the weakest strength and gradually move on to a higher strength if a response is occurring and the skin is not getting too sore. It is best to apply these at night.

Ultraviolet light often helps because of the peeling effect it has on the skin. Unfortunately relapse afterwards is high. If sunlight is associated with excessive heat and humidity it makes acne worse.

However, if the scrubbing isn’t working, the blackhead extractor is suffering metal fatigue and your mounting frustration is generating enough steam to make the bowl of boiling water redundant, do not despair…see your GP for help.

How can your GP help?

If in spite of your nightly ablutions, the infernal spots have not been banished, your friendly family doctor may be your answer.

Dr Sinead Cotter, general practitioner, Cork

Click here to visit our Eczema Clinic or Psoriasis Clinic.

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Anonymous - 21/10/2001 17:16

i'm 14 and i'v got a few spots i cant help but squeez them and i dont want to go to a gp is there any way i can get rid of them

Anonymous - 04/01/2002 20:36

I have an 8 year old daughter who is begining to develop blackheads and am wondering if this is the start of a long haul with acne. i presume that good skin hygiene will help but am wondering if I should be doing anything else

MARY(MARYJOE) - 17/02/2002 23:29

My nineteen year old son has been on Zineryt lotion for the last year and a half,I am wondering is their any side effects, he is complaining of been not able to relax.

Anonymous - 01/10/2003 22:42

im a 21 year old guy.i've had pimples since i was around 11 or 12 & still have them.the pimples ease off from time to time but when they come bac i get them bad.i've used all kinds of treatments such as clearasil wash,cream & lotion.i've used oxygel which is very evective but drys ou my the moment i'm using a tea tree oil lotion,soap & after shower lotion.i find this one does help to prevent pimples but im just sick of having them for most of my like.

Anonymous - 04/12/2003 14:50

Im an 18 year old guy. Ive had acne ever since I was about 12 or 13 and have tried everything such as tea tree oil, facial washes, benzyol peroxide which seems to work the best but when they go away for about a day or two they always come back the next day really bad.There must be something out there that will make them go away for good!?!

Anonymous - 19/12/2003 15:27

I used Zineryt lotion on my skin for about 6 months & I thought it was excellent, I would advise anyont to try it out, my skin cleared up within the 1st month & has never been as bad since.

Anonymous - 22/01/2004 19:42

My son, now 19, had very bad Acne until I brought him to a skin specialist last year. From Jan-Jun 03 he was on Roaccutane. Side effects were not very pleasant - he suffered from very dry skin & his lips were sore. No mood or emotional probs at all. His skin is absolutely perfect now and I would recommend this treatment to anyone. He needs no medication or treatment now at all.

Anonymous - 07/07/2004 11:07

Just a note on Roaccutane - in the case of girls who need to take. Your GP may also want you to be on the pill while you are taking it.

Anonymous - 07/07/2004 13:04

I had really bad acne in my teens but it died down and reappreared in my late 20's. It was like having boils under my skin that were very sore and just wouldn't go away. I was seeing a dermatologist for something else and he said he was horrified by my skin which did wonders for my self confidence! I was 32 at this stage. The scaring left behind was permanent. He suggested Isotrexin. And it really is the business. It takes a long time to kick in but it really helped. It also closes any open pores on your skin. It stings like nothing else but is well worth the time it takes to work.

Anonymous - 07/07/2004 14:15

Is there any clinic or beauticans which help in removing blackheads permantly and without leaving scars.

Anonymous - 16/09/2004 08:57

I am 17 and I have lots of spots etc. on my face and they seem to be getting worse. Can I take tablets to help get rid of it.

Anonymous - 16/02/2005 20:53

acne on my back i need help to get rid of it

Anonymous - 25/03/2005 23:01

ive had acne for about 16 years now and eventually the doc put me on roaccutane, im on it about a month now only thing is it seems to be getting worse. is it usual to get worse before it gets beter???

Anonymous - 30/03/2005 13:03

I had what is called Adult acne.. My older sister (38) is still suffering from it and is now badly scarred. I read in a magazine about a contraceptive Pill called Dianette that helps sufferers of bad skin. I asked my GP and was put on it straight away. It took many months to work but now I actually have skin that people pass comment on. My sister did not stay on it herself and she continues to suffer. I would recommend it to anyone who is suffering from adult acne, but it may not suit everyone as with all contraceptive pills.

Anonymous - 30/03/2005 13:19

Whne yu go on roaccutane, it is usual for the GP to insit that you be on the pill also as roaccutane can cause extremely serious birth defects should you become pregnant.

Anonymous - 06/05/2005 14:58

im 22. had mild acne bout 6 yr now.mainly cheek/chin area.tried everything.still taking dianette for past 5 yr.has improves alot but still no closure.think quinoderm is better than panoxel though.going back to dermotolagist end may.ive heard there's a stronger pill,but heard it can lend to weight gain,depression etc. can some body tell me more about this strong medication???

Niall(DBE28785) - 17/05/2005 20:37

I'm 14 and have had bad acne for 3yrs i try'd everything now its getting better since i went to the docter and would strongly advise the same to all sufferers even if its mild so's to stop it while its easy.nq

Anonymous - 26/05/2005 12:42

I have had acne on and off since I was 16. It was mainly on my chest and back, I went to skin consultant in St. Vincents Hopsital I was put on Roaccutane which was very severe but evenutally worked. Unfortunately I was left with very severe scarring as a result. I recently went on the Dianette contraceptive pill as the acne has returned on my face and neck. My skin really looks great now, but for me, Dianette has severe side effects such as depression and mood swings i.e. permanent PMT. Does anyone have any suggestions for treating acne scars?

Anonymous - 26/05/2005 13:24

well ive been back to the dermatoligist in my hospital and he wont put me on rocacctin as i wasnt that bad. so he gave me an antibiotic and a gel and to go back to see him in two months and he said if i was any more scarred that he would talk to a plastic surgeon for me. maybe for face peels or laser treatment or stuff like that.think it can be expensive though.

Anonymous - 04/07/2005 15:01

hi ive had severe acne since i was thirteen. Im twenty one now and my skin has cleared up a good bit. Im on dianette and it works well but has a few side effects like weight gain and mood swings. My skin has cleared up from using lavander water (neal's yard) and 96 percent alcohol on the spots. It's very astringent but works well. I plan on using benzoyl peroxide. Any one know if this works well? :)

Jamiw(PVW32464) - 24/09/2005 17:08

Swimming I find helps clear my skin,salt water especially.Swimming pools also help-dries out the skin

J-Rod - 10/11/2005 02:40

I'm 14 years old and I've had acne since I was eleven. Untli I was 13 my acne was severe. Now it has cleared up quite a bit, but it just won't go away. It gets better then it just breaks out again. I really need to get rid of this, but I don't know how. I've tried three different acne treatments but they just don't do the job. I really need help on how to get my face cleared up.

em031 - 25/01/2006 17:06

I was prescribed Zineryt lotion after acne developed on my face as a result of side effects to the contraceptive pill Microgynon 30. At the same time my pill was changed to Marvelon which is better for the skin and my acne is slowly beginning to clear up.

Anonymous - 12/02/2006 08:38

hello everyone.. pls help me, i am 21 yrs old now and im studying nursing course here in the philippines.. pls help me, i have acne very bad acne.. my self esteem were continually gone because of this.. I can not face my client well because of my condition. I went to dermatologist and she gave me topical treatment like benzoyl peroxide and helped but later on my acne became worst and it keeps on coming back on my face.. She gave me again anti biotic doxycycline, taken 2x a day. I dunno if it helps but the effects was so devastating.. i\'ve experienced nausea and vomiting.. and sometimes blood came out from my nose.. diarrhea also is present.. I can not help but hide myself.. I always do make absences in my class which really affects my studies.. pls help me find other treatment of my acne.. tnx in advance..

Chana - 13/02/2006 10:43

Anonymous, if tetracyclines are having such a bad effect have you tried, dianatte - the contraceptive pill?

sean - 12/04/2006 14:36

hi im 17 years old, always got the odd spot but only in the last 6 months or so ive started to suffer from acne :( and its really gettin me down as i dont want to go out and see m8s and gf etc because it looks so bad. i've just started taking benzyol peroxide perscribed to me by my local GP and also some tablets, so i applied the cream (benzyol peroxide) on the spots before i went to bed and then when i woke up in the morning and to my horror i noticed that i had red blotches where ive put the cream on! :( my GP said this is normal for first couple of weeks, but its got alot worse already someone please help me!!!!!

Anonymous - 13/04/2006 20:31

My Adult Acne experiences. I developed bad acne on my neck forehead, head, back and chest when I was in my early 20's. Initially I think exam stress brought it on, it would always arrive at exam time of year, and eventually it stopped clearing up, even still the more I stress the worse it gets. From age 21 I tried sun beds which I felt helped a lot, but I was worried about the side effects as that was also damaging my skin. I tried all the antibiotic lotions, tablets etc, but to no avail. Eventually after much research on the web, I asked my doctor to prescribe me Dianette. After the first month I could not believe the difference in my skin, it was like a miracle tablet. Other good side effects experienced where thinner body hair (not that I was excessive before) and really light periods, it was great, but I was worried about liver damage and hair loss (also what I had read on the internet) so after two years I decided to stop taking it. That was four months ago now, I swapped Dianette for Yasmin, the Acne slowly returned without me really noticing it, a little at first on my head and hair line, then my chest, not bad, but my back is the worst, big red sore spots. Iím working on that at the moment, hopefully I donít have to go back on Dianette. I cleanse my back everyday with a mild cleanser, I use t-tree lotion in the morning to stop any itchiness and stop my skin becoming too dry, I also use t-tree shampoo, which doesnít irritate my back as much. In the evenings I use a product called Avene ďClenance KĒ, a French product that dries up the spots, I would also really recommend this product, which you can buy in nearly every chemist in France, but I have only found it in Boots in Liffey Valley shopping centre. So far my face is still spot free, fingers crossed, but my skin is not as nice as it was when I was on Dianette and at least its not to difficult to hide the skin on my back. Another thing I would recommend is to try increasing the amount of zinc in your diet, through eating mixed seeds and nuts. Has anyone any other advice to help clear up acne on your back and chest?

Mary - 14/04/2006 11:40

Anonymous, please don't worry about Dianette. Liver damage is a risk with almost all pills (and indeed many medications) but the acual risk is tiny. Hair los is also a fractional risk A friend of mine has been on dianette since 1996, no more acne, lifhter periods and no excesive body hair (which she suffered from) but also, no problems whatsoever.

Liza - 14/04/2006 15:18

I developed acne when I was 12. At stages I was unable to wash my face without bursting a 'spot'/lesion. Lesions grew underneath my skin. I also had bad acne on my back. I tried a variety of creams, antibiotics and Dianette, the latter I could not tolerate. Then the dermatologist decided enough was enough and put me on Roaccutane. I began Roaccutane treatment when I was 17. The drug cleared the acne in a few months. My acne got worse during the initial stages of treatment but quickly disappeared. Roaccutane has side-effects and was asked by the dermatologist if I was prepared to tolerate them. There is a lot of controversy at the moment surrounding Roaccutane and its possible links with depression and suicide. Roaccutane is a last resort treatment so be wary of doctors who hand it out like smarties. I haven't suffered from acne since then but have been left with bad scarring/holes in the skin. Patches of my face are similar to Victor Yuschenko's facial skin (the Ukranian President who was poisoned about a year ago). I suffered a severe reaction to a Roc facial wash a year ago. My facial skin is now very sensitive. I have even become allergic to the hair colour my hairdresser used to use. Laser treatment has been ruled out as a result of the skin reaction. Does anyone have any ideas on how to treat scars? My GP has dismissed my concerns about the scarring. I feel patronised by his 'sure you'd hardly notice' or 'you're very vain' comments. Both the scars and the medical world's attitude is getting me down. Roaccutane was the miracle I needed 12 years ago. I need another one for the scars. Please help.

Anonymous - 15/04/2006 15:53

Lisa; I pity you having scars, there is nothing worse than people telling you that what worries you is nothing...I have heard that you should rub pure vitamin E onto the skin, from ordinary Vit E capsules, but Iím not sure how well that works especially for severe scaring. I hope you find some solutions.

noy - 16/04/2006 02:30

what is diannate? a contraceptive pill? for what? does it help me?

noy - 16/04/2006 02:34

hello everyone.. is dianette over the counter? I am interested with that.. so it can help my burdens...thanks

Liza - 18/04/2006 09:29

Hi Noy Dianette is a contraceptive pill which is prescription only.

Anonymous - 18/04/2006 09:35

Dianette is a contraceptive pill; you will have to talk to your doctor about it. It's an acne treatment, but also used for pops and other conditions caused by hormone imbalances I think. It is also not for everyone, like every pill it can have its side effects, such as severe mood swings, which was experienced by a friend of mine. I would also recommend a look at this website, there is some useful advice in the forums.

Joshua - 22/04/2006 07:13

Im in my teens and I still have no acne. But Im being safe, i use pro-active acne treatment. That was the best for me. It stops acne at the sorce. I would say that would be your first choice or go to a doctor.

Anonymous - 24/04/2006 11:16

Joshua, what pro-active acne treatmentdo you use.?

Anonymous - 24/04/2006 12:17

please can anyone tell me if there is a procedure or surgery of some sort that you can get to remove black heads?? I have some over the past 10 years and i just cant seem to get rid of them. Although i clean my skin very carefully etc i just keep getting them. I hear that it will leave holes in my skin as you get older so i'd luv to get rid of them now. Please can anyone help!

Linz(YPZ46009) - 28/04/2006 06:11

i have had acne for at least 4 years, and i have yet to find a flawless cure. However i have accepted that no matter wat everyones gonna have blemishes. I have some advice here for people with fairly mild acne, and oily skin. I unfortunatly do not have much for those of you with severe acne, as mine has never been horrible. I live in Canada so some of products may be different here. But my main lesson has been to find a cleanser or 3 step system, and stick to it! cuz it takes your skin awhile to get used to that. I highly reccomend the clinique 3 step system, it works pretty well and is relatively inexpensive. B4 washing your face i always fill the sink w/ boiling water and rinse my face of with that to open up my pores, then use your cleanser, then close your pores w/ ice cold water. After that on your spots use tea tree oil, it smells bad but works! - someone on here mentioned swimming helps clear acne, i am a lifeguard so im in the water alot, and i do find that the chlorine dries out an oily face pretty good - also someone else on here mentioned proactive. I have a friend who uses it and her face looks great! so i recommend that as well, but it is freaking expensive so watch out!

flowergirl - 28/04/2006 21:06

Hi there, After reading all the messages on this it was like listening to myself talk. I also have acne. I first got it when I started puberty and was so self concious. I am now 32 and it has improved alot over the years but I would have very low self esteem and am very concious of my skin when I'm at work or on social occasions. I can remember trying antibotics years ago but didn't stay on them too long as I was concious of the side effects and wasn't comfortable on them. The only two things that have helped my acne over the years have been 1. improving my diet and drinking lots of water. The other thing has been getting regular facials done. The beautican I go to uses a comedone extractor (small metal thing) to remove my blackheads about once a month after steaming my face first. Most beauticians don't use them as they say they damage the face but in actual fact if they are used correctly they work fine. I can't use it on myself but she always uses it on me. My skin does be very red afterwards for a few hours but it does go down and after a couple of days you can really see the difference. I mentioned my acne to my homeopath and she advised getting tissue salts which are a very low potence of a homepathic remedy. There is one specially for acne. It is called No 3-Calcium Sulphate. I've only started to take it recently but I will stay on it for at least 6 months and let everyone know if it helped me. I can relate so much to what everyone is saying on this message board. Its a horrible thing to have but it seems to be the luck of the draw the way some people get it and some don't. For instance my sister never developed it. Lucky her!

flowergirl - 29/04/2006 10:35

Hi, Has anyone tried proactive which has been mentioned on the message board. I wanted to find out how to get it and if it has helped anybody? Thanks.

jennifer - 29/04/2006 20:40

hey, im 14 and i have acne on my back..other then that my acne isnt the worst but on my back its horrible, i cant use creams to help it because i have this thing with people touching it!! and i dont want 2 use diannate either.. is there any other tablets i can use?!? oh yea and for other people if ye have spots on ur face or wherever DEFINETLY read 'The Acne Cure' by Dr. Terry J. Dubrow and Brenda D. Adderly.. its brillant.. the spots on my face were completely gone in 3 days.. and they usually stay off aswel.!!

Lyn - 16/05/2006 12:10

Like you flower girl i've been having regular facials and although my acne has not cleared fully i can see a huge differnece. I also find that when i drink alcohol my acne really flares up so for the past month or so i've been off alcohol and theres been a HUGE difference too. It is such an annoying thing to have though because everyone has different methods that work for them and its so hard to find products that help. I did use Panoxyl for my skin but it made my skin very red and dry, is there anything mild that anyone could recommend?

Anonymous - 30/05/2006 17:24

Hi, ive just started dianette and my acne is going almost immediately.i am also using nicam gel for the redness which i find excellent.

Kita - 31/05/2006 21:35

Hi,I am 34 and still suffering bad skin (only developed it at 26). I take Dianette and its excellent. Only problem is when you come off it the acne comes back, for me it took 3 - 4 months to return. I came off it twice and acne came back each time. I just started back on it a month ago and I vow never to come off it again. I have been on it 6 years and each time my skin is perfect. I heard a good treatment for mild scars is micro dermabrasion - bit expensive (500 euro for 6 treatments) but I have defo learned its worth it to pay this money to help self esteem. There is nothing worse than feeling awful about your skin and not a lot of people understand this if they are not going thru it themselves. I have no idea whether my skin is going to be bad forever, I mean I'm 34; its a bit much!!! Has anyone had acne beyond the age of 40?????

Edilson - 20/06/2006 14:35

Like many young people i suffer from acne, its quite moderate and i have learned to manage it as iv got older, though it still flares out of control from time to time. The most important tip i could give people in a similar position is to determine the type of skin you have. If its oily skin then you should look for products that dry out your skin and unblock pores. Most acne products are developed for this type of skin. However if you have sensitive/combination skin these products will likely make your condition worse as they will cause extreme irritation and excessive dryness. Thus, you have to be more selective with what you choose. Also harsh creams like benzyol perioxide are not really suitable for people with sensitve skin, something like tee tree oil might be much more useful. its also important to remember that everybodies skin is different so what works for one person may not work for somebody else but dont get disheartened, theres lots of help out there and dont be afraid to ask a parent or doctor for help if its really getting you down.

Anonymous - 12/07/2006 09:36

I agree i've started washing myself with shower gel from the body shop with Tea Tree Oil in it and the spots on my back have mostly gone. I'm also going to start Dianette next month so will keep people posted on how it goes.

honeybabe - 03/08/2006 08:05

will i am 14 years old, and i have been suffering from acne for about 2 or 3 years now. I always feel that i am so ugly because i have acne. i have tried alot of things...but if someone that has found something from them, i would be more than willing to try it

Anonymous - 17/09/2006 08:12

hi im 16 years old an ive only had acne for about 3 or 4 months now an my mom tells me i didnt even hab bad acne an i went to the doctors an got put on doxycycline an my doctor told me it will get better b4 it gets worse but its getin really bad so ima stop taken my medication beacause this is becoming to the point were i cant take it anymore im not confident i dont go anywhere with uot makeup i avoid my boyfriend an he think s i hate him bc he dosnt know avout my acne i try to avoid everything i hate my face soooooooooooooooooo much an i just want ti to get better i cry myself to sleep every night praying that in the moring ill wake up to a beautiful face but i dont an i just hide from the world

Mary - 18/09/2006 09:45

Anonymous, I would urge you to stay on the medication and if there is no improvement go back to your Dr and get him/her to try you with a different tetracyclein and also to have your hormones checked as this could also be a big factor at your age.

Hannah(UZS60473) - 01/04/2007 14:07

Hey All. I am 16 and have suffered with spots since the age of 13 mainly on my face but occasionally on my upper chest and back. Acne is something that really bothers me I developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder about the way I look but thats a long story and isnt going to help anyone else. Basically I was put on Dianette 6 months ago my skin still isnt 100% clear but my chest and back are nearly always clear. I also use BP which works but drys my skin out. I really really want to help people out I really recommend Olive Oil and sea salt sounds weird but it really works for me. I smother my face in olive oil (eyes shut) rub it over and then rub sea salt over my face in a circular motion. It cleanses, exfoliates and moisturises. I also want to forget the lotions and potions and think about diet. I know alot of people really disagree that diet has anything to do with acne but i have found it does. First I have to explain my theory and please dont get bord half way through coz u will miss out. The liver and kidneys filter out toxins and used hormones and various other things our body does not need. If you eat foods that have lots of preservities and artifical colourings and additives ect then it makes hard work for your liver and your liver cannot do its job properly therefor the excess hormones are still in your body causing all sorts to your skin. If you dont drink enough water then the kidneys cant flush out the toxins, hormones ect causing them to remain in your system causing all sorts to your skin. If you drink alot of alcohol it weakens the liver makin it have to work harder and hormones dont get filterd properly. If you eat a lot of white bread, white rice, refined sugar and high dairy products then your also making life hard for your liver and it shows in your skin!!! Don't you see the pattern - 2 days after a heavy night of drinking your skin breaks out in annoying pimples, its because the alcohol has weakened your liver and woosh the hormones show on your face!!!. I am trying to make things easier for my liver. I drink lots and lots of WATER (not fizzy drinks or sugary drinks) and natural smoothies with no added crap to flush out any nasty toxins ect. I add MILK THISTLE to a little water and drink it three times daily ( you can find milk thistle in most health shops) this tones, strengthens and cleanses your liver. I only eat BROWN BREAD because white bread has lots of nasty additives and preservities and makes life hard for the liver. I have cut out tea and coffee and drink GREEN TEA, HOT WATER WITH LEMON and NETTLE TEA which all cleanse your system and are natural antioxidants. I try and only eat ORGANIC foods as they have no added crap. I eat plenty of VEGETABLES, fruit is good but it has more sugar in it. Im only human so I do have to have the occasional bit of chocolate so I buy GREEN AND BLACKS ORGANIC chocolate. I have cut out cheese and butter because they are high in diary. I limit myself to just enough pasturised milk for a bowl of cereal a day because pasturised milk is a tough one for the liver. I try and stick to white meat like chicken and turkey as red meat like pork ect is also tough on the liver. Eat lots of WHOLEGRAIN foods and just check the ingredients of what you eat LOOK AT WHATS ACTUALLY IN YOUR FOOD - all the chemicals and crcap you dont need. I also take VITAMIN A because that really helps with hormone balance and people with acne are typically low on Vitamin A. 1 Last thing SUNBEDS! This is not one for everybody so dont go out and jump on a sunbed. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with plenty of sun then get outside. Sun helps your skin promote Vitamin E which naturally helps skin healing and scars, the sun also help to dry your skin but be careful you have to be very responsible and build up a tan gradually. Theres no such thing as a healthy tan but it makes you feel good! I will say one thing though all this advice will only work if you stick to it. If you skin doesnt bother you that much then you wont stick to it. My skin really bothers me and yet I went out last nite and drunk alcohol!! Its a lot to take in but its become a second nature to me before I eat anything I look at the ingredients. It isnt about losing weight (thou I have lost some and i feel fantastic) you shouldnt cut out the things you like. I love chocolate and cake so I buy it from the health shop making sure its organic and preservities free. It is a little pricy and if you dont work yourself then talk to your parents about how strong you feel about improving your skin and if they can see it upsets you that much then i think they could scarifice a few pounds. Lastly I want to justify my theory with answering a question that you probally keep thinking as you read my long essay "HOW COME MY FRIENDS CAN EAT CRAP AND YET THEY STILL HAVE BEAUTIFULL SKIN?" arghhhh i hate people like that but ive learnt not to become bitter and jealous of other people as Im sure they have problems of their own. The reason why some poeple have lovely skin and can still eat junk is because some people are very very very lucky and naturally have a strong liver. They may also of had very healthy parents who fed them organic, preservitve free foods as a child which has strengthened their liver over the years and so now that they eat crap the liver can take it. People with clear skin also have very balanced hormone levels so the liver has very little work to do. On the other hand they could all just be robots!!! Seriously I really sympathise to anyone who feels down about their skin I had a really tough time - I wanted to kill myself! To the person who is avoiding their boyfriend I did that too and we arent together anymore because i had to tell him the truth because i couldnt keep lying. Though it hurts at first I feel better now as theres less pressure. Please dont let it get as far as me talk to someone. I see a doctor every once a week to deal with my OCD and its getting better. PLEASE PLEASE talk to people - your not alone. I hope I have helped someone in some way. If you made it to the end of my message then well done! Sorry it was a bit long winded and thank you for taking the time to read it. Take Care xxxx

Anonymous - 02/04/2007 09:35

Acne is hormonal, especially in the teen years - pure and simple. Any dermatologist will confrm this. While it is important to eat healthily - fruit and veg (fruit sugars in moderation will do no harm, whole grains etc, be EXTREMELY careful about cutting back on dairy food as a good intake of calcium (and not from tablets) isabsolutely vital inthe teen years as it is during that time that gilrs, expecailly, lay down the building blocks for good bone health. Also , is you are cutting down on red meat, you need to be very careful to get all your iron needs from other food sources. Again, this is especially important for young girls

joy(YFS70764) - 23/04/2008 10:41

Diet and exercise play an important role. plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables must be included in the diet. regular exercise also keeps you fit.

Anonymous - 23/04/2008 12:07

Joy, I got this from both a dermatologist and an endocrinologist, while adult acne may be a symptom of an underlying problem or a lifestyle problem (pollution, dehydration, stress or poor sleep). In the teen years however, Acne is hormonal. Plenty of water is important for all the bodies functions as is fruit and veg, exercise per say however is really not relevant to acne, howsoever its importance in keeping our bodies fit and our organs healthy.

Lily(VAA71044) - 04/05/2008 18:14

I'm 13, nearly 14. I don't have terrible acne, but i've tried sooo many different things, and nothing seems to help. It's mostly bad on my chin (10-15 pimples) and on the sides of my nose. its extremely embarrassing to have such acne, and painful. ive tried proactiv, benzoil peroxide, clean and clear, arbonne, something from whole foods, mud masks, sea salts, chaging my diet...etc. Ive been to the dermetologist, but they say i have fine skin, but i dont. and i havent started my cycle yet.

Anonymous - 06/05/2008 11:53

Again Lily, Acne is hormonal. 14 is late not to have started your periods and I'm surprised that your dermatologist did not pick up on this. Is there a history or late menstrual onset in your family or are you perhaps of a very slight build as this may influence the onset. If nither is the case then when you reach 14 I would certainly consider having your Mum make a medical appointment to investigate the delay.

Anonymous - 16/07/2008 18:15

Dear Lily, I would recommend that you change your dermatologist and get a second opinion. The spots you have may be something that will clear away and as such may not be "real acne". If you do not get your period for another few months I think you go to your gp and ask for a referral to see a gyneacologist as it may be that you have a fairly common problem called polycystic ovaries. My friend didn't have her period until she was 17 and had bad skin (and excess facial hair) and found out she had polycystic ovaries. She was put on dianette, a contraceptive pill, and her skin completely cleared up (as did the excess facial hair). You are very young and I am sure your skin will clear up soon.

Anonymous - 16/07/2008 18:24

I am 28 and I first developed acne on my face when I was 18. After going on antibiotics and dianette, both of which did nothing to help my skin, I went on roaccutane. After 6 months of treatment I had perfectly clear, scar free skin. I continued to stay on dianette and my skin remained clear for 5 years, when, due to headaches caused by dianette, I came off dianette and my acne returned. I have now been on minocin (antibiotics) for years and have tried the contraceptive pills celeste and yasmin for my skin and nothing seems to be helping a huge amount. I also am keen to come off the antibiotics as I don't know what damage they are doing to my body and they make me feel very tired. I am reluctant to go back on roaccutane as I remember how exhausted I was on it and since I was on it I suffer from dry, sensitive skin and dry eyes which makes wearing contact lenses difficult- I don't want to exacerbate these problems. I have heard that Nlite-V laser can help people with active acne. Does anyone know anything about this or whether it can be used on sensitive skin? ps- a fantastic makeup I have found that I wish I had known about when I was younger and suffering from acne is bare escensuals mineral powder. I find that it covers redness very well. Tt doesn't provide great coverage for acne it makes you look alot better without have the caked on make up look. I think it is better not to wear a huge amount of creamy makeup over skin with acne during the day as it can make your skin look worse.

A - 29/07/2008 15:43

Hi all, im 27 and have been getting acne for years and years and years,its so upsetting and makes me want to hide away. i find i get really down if i have a bad breakout. (which i have had for the past two weeks) i went to my doctor last week and she give me yasmin(pill) and told me that it would take 6 months for it to work completely....can anyone tell me if this is true, and will it work at all? help if you can, i would love to have clear skin and let my make up sit properly on my face or even better not have to wear any make up at that would be something!!

sleek - 30/01/2009 19:07

hi there, i'm 25 and have been on dianette for the last 6 years to treat acne. it worked great for me and my skin was completely clear. However in the last few months i have noticed my skin flaring up again (nothing as bad as before). i went to the doc the other day and she told me that i have become immune to dianette and it has stopped working and i now have adult acne! The liklihood is that it is going to get worse and i will have to go to the dermatologist for roaccutane. have i any other option?

murphj - 26/03/2009 11:32

Hi all I am 21 and still suffering from acne. It probably started when I was about 13..not so bad at first....when I was 17 I went on dianette. To be honest I was not sure if it was helping because it never really cleared it up completely. Like many others I never leave the house without wearing foundation. I have been trying to wear less makeup now..perhaps because my self esteem is improving I dont feel the need to cover myself up so much...try and focus on your good points instead of your bad points because stressing about it is only going to make it worse and I do believ in having a positive mental attitude...but of course its easy to say this but putting it into practice is harder! Recently my skin has broken out very badly and I am very self conscious about it...I go swimming twice a week and I dont want to go because I know people will see me without makeup! I only started a few months ago and I am wondering if the chlorine is causing a break out. Also I took a break from Dianette 3 months ago and broke out straight way...on my back especially (the reason why i originaaly  decided to go on the pill for my skin is because my acne had spread to my back but dianette I feel was successful in clearing this up)....a piece of advice I would give to people who are concerned about scarring (of course it depends on the type of acne) is to use bio oil (the kind of orange oil available in boots and most good grocery stores in the cosmetics department). For someone who has had acne (allbeit controlled through dianette) little scarring has occured and i put it down to bio oil. Also vit E oil is reccommended by surgeons to help with scarring after surgery so this could be worth a try. Acne seems impossible to cure so scar prevention could help with improving self esteem. I know there are going to be worse cases and less worse cases of acne out there but I think anyone with acne feels the effect of it on your confidence. Overall I reccommend Dianette and bio-oil. I think it also needs to be pointed out that there must be some difference between adult acne and hormonal acne in teen years. I suppose every case is different and what works for some is not going to work for others.

Carol - 26/03/2009 20:44

My Acne was very successfully treated many years ago with a Sun Ray Lamp. My Doctor did this once a week for a couple of months and I have never had a recurrence. Has anyone ever heard of this?

Cats - 05/04/2009 20:00

Hi all. I'm new to this forum. I'm originally from Germany and live here since '95. I was quite shocked to see so much acne on all age groups. Never seen so much. All I know about acne, if hormones can be ruled out, then it's something to do with diet. All the grease consumed here... fries here and fry-ups there. Plenty of strong tea.

We grew up with plenty of natural stuff, like the herbal teas. During puberty it was nettle tea, granted horrible on it's own, but mixed with another herbal tea, it's not so bad. Eating loads of fresh produce, helps, drinking fresh juices not made from concentrate.

Now Uncle Mac and Auntie King have moved in, and Acne is moving in, too.

I also know, a good natural help for Acne is Acupuncture, Green Tea to drink and Camomile tea, either to drink or to do regular facial steam baths. Dry yeast mixed with a little warm water and made up to a facial mask, also works wonders.



Anonymous - 06/04/2009 13:58

Hi Cats, while acne, for the most part is hormonal, excessive greasy foods are not a good thing. There is a difference however between the use of fats or hydrogenated oils and the use of beneficial oils like olive oil, fish and avocado oil and nut oils which can be highly beneficial. However there is nothign wrong with drinking tea - in fact black / red teas can have very beneficial health qualities and I don't think either have ever been cited as causative as regard acne. Again tho., like everything, excess is not good. Mac and King have been here 40 years so I don't think there is a link in every or even a majorty of adult acnes. Good advice as rears the facial steam baths tho.

Fi-Fi - 22/07/2009 12:50

Heyaz....Im 15 years old and for the past year iv been on Dianette. I found it a great help as it calm down my skin and my spots wernt as sore and irritated plus most of them went away....I now only get on or two spots but obiously my skin cant b perfect! I would recommend any girl 2 go to their local GP and ask about Dianette for there skin. Also i am usin Simple facial products which i find very good and gentel on my skin and it doznt irritae them. They are perfume and colour free when is very good...

ryuken - 26/11/2009 01:26

Yeah... Acne do always comes up during teen years just like me.  :(  Good thing there's a lot of ways to prevent or treat them.  Thanks to info like this, we can actually get more info.  Hey, if you need more info on treating acne, do check this one out as well.  :)

ryuken - 26/11/2009 01:49

Hi!  I would love to share more ways on how to treat your acne the same as I did but this post will take too long.  ;P  You can download the e-book on how to treat acne.  Just click here.  :)

kadson - 10/12/2009 16:39

DO not use high protein foods and active one of the best for acne and use blood purifier regularly.

Anonymous - 11/12/2009 08:21

Why would high protein foods be a problem? These are very neccessary for active poeple and particularly teen girls. Noodles aren't protein at all - theyt are simply high refined cheap carbs. What exactly is a "blood purifier" the blood of any healthy person shoilod NEVER need purifying unless under medical direction for very specific and serious coditions.

jamieH - 24/09/2010 18:32

hey, I'm also suffering acne before, and used many treatments, which unluckily turned my acne worse! .It's really annoying, another zit comes out! Luckily, it was solved, I use Puraskin Acne Treatment, it's improving. I'm still maintaining it to eventually rid those acne.

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