Interview transcription:

We interviewed Dr Penelope Pratsou to learn about acne and its causes.

What is acne and what causes it?

Penelope Pratsou: Acne is a type of skin condition that is so prevalent in teenagers that we think it’s almost normal when they have pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. However, there is a lot that goes on to create that perfect storm. You’ve got your overactive oil glands that produce excess oil, or sebum production. Add to that the fact that the oil will then mix in with dead skin cells on the surface which then blocks the hair follicles that are closely linked to the oil glands to create those whiteheads and blackheads that we’re talking about.

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Penelope Pratsou: P. acnes (Propionibacterium acnes) is the bacteria involved in acne that causes inflammation and infection. In addition to that, you’ve got an excess of certain hormones, androgens, that can then lead to these pimples, nodules and cysts which often result in scars. In addition to that, there are emotional scars that can come with this condition.

Find out what you should do if you have acne here.

If you notice that you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Miss Penelope Pratsou. She’ll be able to assess your condition and give you a treatment plan.

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.