A-Z

Acne (young people)

Acne over time

A lot of people we spoke to no longer had acne or their acne was less severe than it used to be. Sometimes this was because treatments had helped or it had gone away for other reasons (e.g. ‘growing out’ of puberty). Other people were part way through treatments and hopeful about these. Some had decided to stop using treatments for a while. Even if things had improved, ‘flare-ups’ were still common for some people.
 

Sarah saw doctors about acne for many years before deciding to stop medical treatments.

View full profile
Age at interview: 22
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 16
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And could you tell me a bit about going to the doctor’s for both the rash but maybe acne as well?

For both the rash and the acne. Going to the doctors was, so we, for quite a while I think I tried to deal with it, you know, just by putting on creams and whatever  with my mum’s help. And eventually we went to the doctor and got referred to a dermatologist who tried to treat both conditions but… what happened? I went on antibiotics which didn’t really do much. I went on the pill, I think it might actually have been the pill that cleared the rash up.  The problem was that the, there was a very long waiting list to see a dermatologist and when I moved away from home for university, the appointments got quite disrupted and in the end – especially as none of the treatments they were advising for me seemed to be doing that much good with the exception of the pill which I went, eventually went off because I found I wasn’t agreeing with it in other ways. The treatments didn’t seem to be doing that much good and so I just ended up not actively organising any more dermatologist appointments and I’ve not been to a dermatologist now for about two years.
People had often heard others say that acne will ‘always go away eventually’. Some of the young people we interviewed disagreed with this as their experiences were different. Deborah’s acne has changed over the years, going from ‘teen acne’ to ‘adult acne’ (see also overview section on causes and triggers).

For others, their acne went away but then came back after a while. Naomi had acne “off and on” over 13 years. Nina, who is 20, says hers “comes and goes”. Acne returning or becoming worse after a break of months or even years could be upsetting because the person usually hadn’t expected it. Marga found it made her feel out of control again. Hester’s skin cleared up when taking isotretinoin (e.g. Roaccutane) but she worried about it coming back. It can be distressing have to go back to medical professionals again.
 

Marga thought she had grown out of acne, but it came back at age 24.

View full profile
Age at interview: 24
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 18
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yeah. I think it was like, it was definitely at the end of school or beginning of university, I can't remember exactly, but it was definitely 18, 19 when I started to get sort of regular spots. You know, I didn’t have anything up until then really, so I guess it frustrated me a little bit because I thought I had passed that; that I'd been lucky to not have any spots really. And I guess I was frustrated because I felt like I'm not supposed to have it. I'm not-, it's when-, you have spots when you're a teenager. And I guess that when I-, sort of end of last year those sorts of thoughts definitely came back. I thought, ‘ah, I'm 24’, you know, ‘I'm an adult.' Another thing is I work in a school and I work around-, often I work around a lot of sort of adolescent children. I felt like, I often felt like it was almost affecting my profess-, my being professional cos I felt like, you know, I've got spots, I look like the kids now and I'm meant to like be in charge of these kids.

But I didn’t really-, I probably only voiced that to my parents but I guess you do have those questions, questions to yourself like ‘why do I have these spots, like I'm meant to be spot-free’ and I guess you feel like it's affecting your-, I guess your age and your maturity in a way, like your  perceived maturity and ability to look after these children.
Some of the young men we talked to, such as Tom, Kosta and Chris, were confident that their acne would clear up eventually. Scarring was a concern for some people though (see also symptoms and the emotional side of acne). Becky was worried about the damage that had been done to her skin by having acne and squeezing the spots. A few people had seen doctors (and sometimes beauticians) about treatment for their scarring or were thinking of doing this in the future.
 

Abbie had a skin reaction to shower gel which made her worry that her acne was returning.

View full profile
Age at interview: 17
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 13
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
This is really recently, I’d started using, like my mum got me some shower gel, some for Christmas, so I started using that. And then I started like after I was using it getting like, I don’t know, I thought it was kind of like a rash. But it was kind of, it reminded me of when I had acne. And I was getting it on like my chest. And I was like ‘Oh, no, I’ll have to-’ and I like, I went off it like straight away. And I think it was just some ingredient in it that my skin didn’t like. But then the rash went away. But I was like really worried then that kind of the acne was coming back. Cos at first I didn’t realise that it was the shower gel doing it. And I was like ‘oh, my gosh, I’m getting acne on my chest again.’ And so that was pretty stressful. But when we figured out it was the shower gel and then I was like ‘oh, that’s okay then.’ 
donate
Previous Page
Next Page