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.

Age at interview 22

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 16

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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.

Age at interview 24

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 18

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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.

Age at interview 17

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 13

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