Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My back acne

hi sam im 16 and i have horrible painful acne kn my back and have had for 3-4 years i have acne im my face but i have a prescribed cream that works but nothing works on my back, i have a dermatolgy appointment on the 30th this month but thats a long wait with no treatment to even sooth my back! it looks really ugly and as a young woman i want yo be anle to wear vest tops in this heatwave without being super selfconcious. i went to A party the other day wearing a jumpsuit with a low back and a girl came jp to me asking what was wrong with my back and i was so embarassed and i just hate my back ugh

Ask Sam


Hi there

Acne is a skin condition that affects lots of people and it’s sometimes linked to changes in your hormone levels during puberty. You may get spots, usually on your face and back that can sometimes feel hot or painful.

You might feel upset or embarrassed about your acne and it can help to get some support from friends or family if it’s affecting your mood. We’ve also got advice on building your confidence and self-esteem, which could help you feel better about the situation.  It can help to remember that it’s not caused by being dirty or not washing and you haven’t done anything to cause your acne to develop.

Acne can last for a long or short time and often affects your confidence and how you feel about the way you look. If anyone is making you feel bad about you look, it’s best to walk away and ignore their comments. No one should make you feel uncomfortable about your body or how you look.

Not everyone gets acne but about 80% of young people are affected by it. It’s most common between the ages of 14 and 17 in girls and 16 and 19 in boys. Sometimes acne can also be caused or flare up in women due to other changes in hormones like just before a period, during pregnancy and as a result of some health conditions. You can’t cure acne and sometimes it can get better and then get worse again so finding ways to cope with how it affects you can help.

There are things you can do to help the symptoms of acne like using warm rather than hot or cold water and avoid irritating the skin by over washing. You can wash up to twice a day, try not to squeeze spots as this can cause scarring and avoid using too much make up.

Treatment for acne is available and you can buy creams, lotions and gels from a pharmacy to treat mild acne. If they don’t work, you’re feeling depressed or your acne is moderate or severe it’s important to see your doctor to get the right treatment. Treatments can take time to start working but your doctor will tell you what to expect and can refer you to a skin specialist if needed. If you’re worried about your acne while waiting to see a specialist it’s okay to go back to your doctor for more advice.

Thank you for your letter and I hope this advice has helped. Remember, you can always speak to a Childline counsellor about how you’re feeling.

Take care,


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