Squeezing spots can make them worse and increase the likelihood of permanent scarring, so do try to avoid this, however tempting it might be. There are lots of other things you can try yourself at home, and some medications which you can get from a pharmacy or from a GP.

Advertisement

Simple things to try at home include avoiding oily make-up and moisturisers, removing make-up completely before bed, washing the affected area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water (not too hot or cold) no more than twice a day, washing hair regularly and trying to avoid letting hair fall across your face. To date, despite what most people think, there is little evidence that diet has an impact, and acne is certainly not due to a lack of cleanliness!

Lots of people try to manage acne for too long at home themselves. Even if acne is mild, if it’s bothering you then it’s a good idea to speak to a pharmacist as there are several creams, lotions and gels for treating spots available to buy that can make a big difference. Usually, products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide are recommended.

If these products don’t work, or your acne is more severe, or appears on your chest and back, you may benefit from a course of antibiotics or stronger creams that are only available on prescription.

Sometimes women find acne is worse around their period, and contraception can be used to help (even if the person is not sexually active). The side effects of these treatments are usually minimal, and they can be very effective.

Please see your GP sooner rather than later, and there is no need to feel self-conscious. It’s a common condition and can often be treated effectively with a short course of treatment.

Read more:

Advertisement

To submit your questions email us at questions@sciencefocus.com (don't forget to include your name and location)

Authors

Dr Nish Manek is a GP in London. She completed her medical degree at Imperial College and was runner-up in the University of London Gold Medal. Manek has also developed teaching courses for Oxford Medical School, and has penned articles for The Guardian and Pulse magazine.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement