Skin Problems and Acne Advice

All our GPs treat general and common skin problems.

For acne and difficult to treat skin problems Dr Graeme Edwards has treated many patients.

Skin cancers are a special area of diagnosis.  See our separate information pages regarding Skin Cancer Checks and also Removal of Skin Cancers, Cysts and Moles.

About Acne             (Source:

Acne is the most common of skin diseases, affecting 85 per cent of Australians aged 15-24 years old. Very few people manage to escape their teenage and young adult years without some pimples and blackheads.

Acne usually clears spontaneously for many people by their mid-20s. However, for some young people acne is a far more serious problem with the possibility of permanent physical, mental and emotional effects.

When it comes to acne, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or girl as both sexes get acne.

Adolescent boys and young men (13 – 25 years old) have higher levels of androgens (hormones that rule the development of the sexual organs) than females so they are more likely to have acne and unfortunately, are also more likely to have severe acne. Acne in guys usually settles during their early 20s.

Females are more likely to suffer with ongoing acne. In some cases, this means acne can be hanging around even in your 30s and 40s. Females can also develop acne for the first time after puberty.

Myths About Acne       (Source: Australasian College of Dermatologists )

There are many myths surrounding acne.

The first myth is that acne somehow is an allergy. Acne is not an allergic disease.

Another myth relates to diet. It was often though that chocolates, dairy foods, citrus fruits, cola and various other foods and beverages somehow cause acne. Most patients with acne realise that changing their diet does not eradicate their acne.

Naturally patients with acne should continue to observe a healthy diet but occasional “indiscretions” will not cause further acne lesions to develop.

Another myth is that acne is an infectious disease. It is true that antibiotics are used in the treatment of acne but acne is not an infectious disease. It is not contagious and cannot be spread to other people.

A further myth is that acne is due to lack of cleanliness. Acne is not caused by lack of cleanliness and in fact excessive cleaning and scrubbing can make acne worse.

A final myth is that sunlight is beneficial for acne. Most dermatologists agree that sunlight and ultraviolet light has no beneficial effect in the treatment of acne.

In fact sunlight and ultraviolet light may cause premature aging and skin cancer and should not be recommended as treatment for acne.

Using the right skin care products can make a big difference in your acne control, promote skin health and help keep your skin looking young. With the huge number of skin care products and ranges available, choosing the best products for your acne and skin can be confusing.

Start by getting information from someone you can trust; someone who is trained in this area. Your pharmacist, general practitioner or dermatologist are good people to speak to for guidance in choosing the right skin care products to help control your acne, plus avoid treatment related problems.

Don’t base your skin care on how good the skin of a well-paid, Photoshop edited model or celebrity appears in an acne product advertisement.

 Seeing a doctor

There is nothing wrong in seeking medical advice for your pimples. After all, acne is a medical condition so it’s the smartest thing you can do.

It’s time to see a doctor as soon as acne starts interfering with your enjoyment of life. If you get medical treatment for your particular type of acne (sooner rather than later), it can reduce the risk of physical scars that may be permanent and can help with the emotional hurt and stress that acne may cause you.

Different treatments have different methods of action. Some unblock pores; others reduce oil production or reduce the bacteria that complicates acne.

When deciding which type of therapy to recommend, a doctor will consider individual circumstances such as the extent and severity of the acne, if you have scars or at risk of scarring as well as the emotional and social impact on the affected person.

A combination of both skin treatments and tablets is often beneficial.

Adverse effects are a possibility with any medication, including acne medications, but most will be mild and manageable. The more common or more potentially serious ones are included in the following information along with advice on how these can be minimised or prevented.

Some of the medical treatment options for acne include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Retinoids
  • Hormonal agents
  • Fixed combinations

For women, acne may be a combined skin and gynaecological problem.  Dr Graeme Edwards at our Clinic has a focus on both these areas in combination.

Source:    The Australian College of Dermatologists

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