03/10/2014 11:32 BST | Updated 03/12/2014 05:59 GMT

Why Bad Skin Is Not Just a Teen Battle

Celebrities often come under fire for having less than flawless complexions, but in reality, 'bad skin' is a problem that millions of Brits are faced with.

Although many associate spots and skin blemishes with puberty, it's not uncommon to find yourself battling with breakouts way beyond your teenage years and well into your 20s, 30s and much later.

One of the biggest culprits is acne. It is one of the most widespread skin conditions and affects around 80% of teenagers, so it is something most of us have direct experience of. It varies in severity, but is often characterised by blackheads, whiteheads, papules (hard spots with no visible fluid) and pustules (pus-filled spots).

Adult acne

Although more rife in adolescents, acne can affect people in adulthood too. It is actually possible to get acne for the first time as an adult, which is known as 'adult-onset acne'. So although you may have been spot-free as a teenager, you can find it developing later on in life, particularly if you are a woman.

It is estimated that 80% of adults who have acne are female. Some blame poor diet or hygiene, but that's simply not the case. In fact, excessive cleansing can irritate the skin and worsen the problem.

Very often it is linked to hormone fluctuations - sometimes caused by the monthly-cycle, when starting the contraceptive pill, during pregnancy or the menopause. Other flair-up triggers can include stress, cosmetic products, medicines and certain medical conditions.

Likewise, there are many different types of treatment, including topical creams and gels that are applied directly to the skin, antibiotics and other prescription medications.

Out of the spotlight

When you have a skin condition, particularly on your face, it can feel like you are in the spotlight 24/7. It's one of the most frequent problems we see at the Pharmacy2U online doctor service and I've known patients to battle with skin conditions for years, before finally seeking medical help.

Whether you're an A 'list celebrity or not, a spot breakout can dint your confidence and make you feel like all eyes are on you. But taking a fresh look at what could be triggering it and finding the right treatment, can have a big impact.