The condition is characterised by blockage and inflammation of the hair follicles and associated sebaceous (natural oil producing) glands of the face, chest and upper back. Appearances vary from mild greasiness of the skin together with some blackhead (or 'comedone') formation to severely inflame cysts in rare cases.
Sometimes blackheads do not appear but blockage of the sebaceous glands leads to the formation of 'whiteheads' (or 'closed comedones') instead. These are very small white or skin-coloured spots. Inflammation of either form of comedone will lead to the appearance of severely inflamed acne spots.
The aim of the treatment is to reduce the overall numbers of comedones and to reduce the likelihood of the different types of comedones from turning into inflamed spots or cysts. Treatment is a combination of 'topical' agents (things which are applied to the outside surface of the skin) and (systemic' agents (things which are taken by mouth to act on the skin from within).
It is very important that you understand that no form of treatment for acne will be fully effective in less than twelve weeks. You must persist with regular treatment for the whole period before seeing any response. Tablets are often much more effective if they do not mix with food in the stomach. Your stomach will be empty two hours after your last meal or drink containing milk. You should not take anything other than water for 40 min after your tablets. You may need to find four times during the day (depending on what dose of treatment you are on) during which these rules can be followed; two helpful times are before breakfast and before going to bed.