What you need to know

Nearly all young people experience concerns with their skin, it's believed that 80% of teenagers will live with acne at some stage.

Spots occur due to an increase in hormones, which is why an increase in spots or an onset of acne is often noted during puberty. The increase in hormones cause the skin's oil glands (sebaceous glands) to produce sebum. Sebum then sits on the skin via the hair follicle opening (pores), this leads to the hair follicles becoming blocked, and spots developing.

In the majority of cases spots can appear on the face, neck, back or chest. Acne does not carry a significant physical health risk, however can impact somebody's emotional health significantly, as it may lead to poor self esteem, poor body image, and anxiety.

  • Ensure your skin is clean
  • Remove all make up at night
  • Eat healthy
  • Drink lots of water, remain hydrated
  • Resist the desire to pick or squeeze spots, this can lead them to be worse
  • Use an oil free, high SPF sun cream if spending any time in the sun (30+)
  • Wear protective clothing to avoid getting burnt, e.g. sunglasses/hat
  • Resist the desire to scrub your face, over-exfoliating the skin can cause inflammation
  • If you use a hormonal based contraceptive e.g. the pill, it's important you discuss your skin concerns with the GP, as these contraceptive methods can have an impact on susceptibility to acne/spots
  • Speak to your GP, there are many treatments available which may help

If you're concerned about your skin, and whether you have acne, your school nurse would be happy to discuss this with you.

As well as this, speaking to another medical professional can be really influential. Both a pharmacist and your doctor will be able to help in advising you about different treatments that are available to help.

Despite 80% of teenagers and young adults experiencing acne and spots, the vast majority improve and only 5% of females and 1% males experience acne over the age of 25years.

For further information please see NHS Choices.