What is acne?

Acne is a disorder of the hair follicle and sebaceous gland. Acne is most common in adolescents and young adults with up to 85% of 16-18 year olds affected. Acne is also very common in adults and can persist for many years.

What causes acne?

A number of factors can contribute to acne. These include:

  • Hormones
  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Infection
  • Blockage of the sebaceous gland/follicle

How does acne present?

Acne can present in many different ways. It is most commonly seen on the face, neck, chest and back as these areas have a higher number of sebaceous (oil) glands.

Common subtypes of acne include:

  • Open and closed comedones (blackheads and whiteheads)
  • Inflammatory papules and pustules
  • Cysts

What treatments are available for acne?

There are a number of treatment options for acne and treatment should be tailored to the severity, location and subtype of the acne . Dermatologists are specifically trained to manage all subtypes of acne, particularly more severe cases associated with scarring.

Treatment options include:

  • Topical treatments (eg creams, washes and lotions)
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Isotretinoin
  • LED therapy