28 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: I’m suffering from severe acne

Acne can have many activity grades as well as a wide range of clinical presentations

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
10 May 2016 | 10:39 am

I’m 18 and am suffering from severe acne on the face. I’ve tried several remedies suggested by friends, but they’ve not helped. I wash my face thrice a day but the pimples and redness refuse to go. Please help.

First let me clarify a prevailing myth – that acne and pimples are two different issues. This isn’t true.

Acne can have many activity grades as well as a wide range of clinical presentations. These include (in order of severity): excessive oiliness of face (a condition called seborrhoea); closed comedones (whiteheads); open comedones (blackheads); deep-seated micro cystic lesions, which are usually mistaken as whiteheads; red papules (commonly called pimples), pustular lesions (yellowish-topped pimples), nodular lesions (big-sized hard inflamed lesions seen half above and half below the skin surface), cystic lesions – when the nodules become softer and oil-filled, and multilocular – interconnected multiple cystic lesions forming a long sinus under the skin.

Acne most commonly affects the face; however, in about 50 per cent of sufferers it also involves upper chest, shoulders and upper arms, upper and middle back, and in several cases spreads to the upper legs as well.

Both genders suffer from acne, and up to 70 per cent of teenagers are said to be affected by it. Now to answer your question, it’s necessary that you consult a dermatologist who can study your case and suggest suitable treatment options.

If your acne condition is left untreated there is a possibility that you could end up suffering from post-acne sequelae – for example, pitted (ice-pick) scars, elevated (hypertrophic) scars, and, most common of all, acne-induced post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

All these conditions pose serious treatment challenges to dermatologists. Therefore it is highly advisable to treat 
your acne at the earliest to avoid worsening the condition and also to prevent the above-mentioned post-acne skin issues. The redness on your face seems to be triggered by the allergic reactions to the materials you are using as self-treatment.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.