IT is the plague of teenagers everywhere and more adults than is often imagined.

Acne is more than an irritation for some, as flair-ups cause embarrassment, anxiety and even physical pain for those for suffer from it.

The common skin condition can affect most people at some point in their lives, with spots, rashes and bumps developing on areas like the face, back and chest.

Numerous celebrities, from Katy Perry to Cameron Diaz, are reported to struggle with acne and while it is most common in teens aged 14 to 19, 80 per cent of people can be affected anywhere between the ages of 11 and 30, with around five per cent of women and one per cent of men getting it over the age of 25.

Spots are caused by blocked hair follicles in the skin, when the glands produce too much sebum, which can occur for a number of reasons including hormonal imbalance, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), or be inherited.

Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by a poor diet or by unclean skin, but triggers can be anything from new cosmetics to certain foods and, for some people, whatever they do, they still get spots and “break outs”.

Bolton administrator Lisa Pitfield started suffering from acne shortly after her 20th birthday and in the past few months the sudden appearance of the condition has been the cause of some anxiety.

"All through my teenage years I never got spots. I turned 20 on June 2 and my skin got worse after that," she explained.

"You are conscious of it and I don't go to work and anywhere where I will be speaking to people without make-up on now.

"You know it's there and can feel it in yourself, I hate that. I've tried lots of products over the past few months but they've either made it worse or it's got better then come back worse.

"You have just got to deal with it, it's not like you cannot go into work if it's bad and you have to get on with life. I know a lot people have got it a lot worse than me and it's not a nice to live with at all."

Plenty of treatments have been banded around over the years - from ointments, gels and tablets - but a new treatment is being used in Bolton for the first time to help those who suffer from acne.

Laserase Bolton, based on the Royal Bolton Hospital site, is offering treatment for acne and scarring with the Regenlite laser.

Described by clinic manager Julie Kershaw as "one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of acne for many years", typically patients will need only three treatments for longer term results.

The laser works by delivering low frequency light pulses which stimulate the body’s natural responses to treat skin conditions such as acne.

Laserase Bolton has been treating acne for over 20 years and offers a range of treatments, carried out by qualified doctors and nurses.

Nurse Jo Smithers has been working with laser treatment for 20 years and is confident the new addition to the clinic will help tackle the difficult medical condition.

She said: "The treatment feels completely bearable, with little pain, depending how bad the acne is.

"We've had it about a month, but there have been some great results and it's great for children too. It's quite a healing laser and can help with acne scars.

"Everybody is different and everyone's acne is different, so there is no guarantee of results but hopefully it can help to a degree, but if we can help make it better or more manageable that's a good step.

"We get a lot of people in their 40s and 50s, particularly women, who never had acne before but it suddenly happened and we get children who are 12 or 13 just getting it. It can really affect people and knock their confidence. If they feel they are getting help then they do feel much better."

Laserase Bolton offers free consultations with patients.

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