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October 11, 2016

Waging the war on acne

Acne may be more common among teens, but it can also strike adults. While its health risks are extremely limited, it can nonetheless affect your well-being and quality of life and, in some cases, even lead to psychological and social problems. 

Symptoms and complications of acne

When we think about acne, we usually think about the face. Yet it can also develop on the neck, chest, back, arms and shoulders. It also comes in various forms:

  • Blackheads (comedones)
  • Whiteheads (pustules)
  • Cysts (deeper lesions that are red and often painful to touch)

If acne is not properly treated, it can leave permanent marks on skin (acne scars). So it’s definitely a condition that warrants special attention and care. 

Causes of acne

Acne is generally caused by hyperactive sebaceous glands. These glands produce an oily secretion called sebum, which can clog pores when it accumulates, creating the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and leading to the appearance of the telltale signs of acne. 
Among teens, hormones often play a role in the development of acne. The same is true for some adult women, who notice that they are more likely to have acne during their period. 

Risk factors for acne

Most teens and many adults will need to deal with acne at one point or another. But the following factors can also predispose you to it:

  • Gender (e.g. being male)
  • Family history of acne
  • Use of certain medications (e.g. cortisone)
  • Excessive perspiration  
  • Exposure to certain products (e.g. frying oil, oily cosmetics) 
  • etc.

Preventing and treating acne

Acne needs to be treated, since it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, significant psycho-social issues, decreased self-esteem and difficulty functioning in society. 

Here are a few basic tips to follow if you have acne:


  • Cleanse skin well and remove all traces of makeup with a gentle cleanser or wash made for acne-prone skin. Avoid harsh rubbing. Thoroughly pat dry with a clean towel. 
  • Use non-comedogenic cosmetics (products that won’t clog pores). 
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands. 
  • Moisturize your skin every day with a product formulated for acne-prone skin. 
  • Do not pick at or pop pimples as this can cause permanent lesions or scars. 

Do you have mild acne? Over-the-counter products that contain active ingredients, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, can be helpful. Ask your family pharmacist to explain the differences among the products and help you choose the one that will be right for you.

Is your acne moderate to severe? Talk to a doctor or dermatologist. He or she can recommend special cleansers and skin care products suited to your needs and prescribe medications to be used topically (on skin) or taken orally (by mouth) to help you better manage your acne. 

Pharmacy services

Do you have questions about acne? Talk to your family pharmacists. They can help you achieve healthy, radiant skin. They can prescribe* medications for certain minor health problems, including acne, when the treatment and diagnosis are already known. A consultation will also be required so the pharmacist can make sure you meet the prescribing criteria.

To avail yourself of this service, you may need to book an appointment with your family pharmacist. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more details. Some Uniprix-affiliated pharmacies also offer an online appointment booking service. To locate the store nearest you providing this service, click here

*Certain conditions must be respected. Fees may apply. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more information. Pharmacists alone are responsible for the practice of pharmacy. They offer related services only on behalf of pharmacist-owners.

Services in pharmacy are the sole responsibility of pharmacist-owners. Only pharmacists are responsible for pharmacy practice. They only provide related services acting under a pharmacist-owner's name.

The Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.