Acne: What It Is, Causes & Treatment
Acne - a lingering, inflammatory skin condition resulting in whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, and nodules. The skin condition may scar the skin depending on the severity of the acne.
Acneis mainly caused by the levels of Androgen, a type of hormone, which rise when adolescence begins. In women, it gets converted into estrogen. Though there may be genetic or environmental factors too.
Rising androgen levels cause the oil (sebaceous) glands under the skin to grow. The enlarged gland produces more sebum. Excessive sebum can break down cellular walls in the pores, causing bacteria to grow.
- Some medicines that contain androgen and lithium
- Greasy cosmetics
- Hormonal changes
- Emotional stress
Mild Acne can be treated with Over- the- Counter Medications & Lotions:
- Helps break down blackheads and whiteheads
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Kills bacteria - Accelerates the replacement of skin - Slows the production of sebum
- Salicylic acid
- Assists the breakdown of blackheads and whiteheads - Helps reduce inflammation and swelling
- Mechanism unknown
- Retin A
- Helps unblock pores through cell turnover
- Azelaic acid
- Strengthens cells that line follicles - Stops sebum eruptions - Reduces bacterial growth - In form of a cream for acne, but other forms are used for rosacea.
MODERATE TO SEVERE ACNE
When Acne spreads or occurs on the shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms, you may have to consult a dermatologist. A prescription gel or cream similar to OTC medications but stronger, or an oral or topical antibiotic is recommended based on individual reactions to treatment.
TIPS FOR MANAGING ACNE
Acne may not be entirely preventable but you can manage & clear up your skin by following this tips:
- Wash your face twice a day (not more) with warm water and mild soap made especially for acne.
- Never scrub the skin or burst the pimples, as this may push the infection further down, causing the acne or pimple to worsen and spread.
- Avoid popping pimples, as this makes scarring likelier. It may also lead to a severe infection. Always consult your dermatologist to treat a pimple that requires rapid removal for cosmetic reasons.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Hold the telephone away from the face when talking, as it is likely to contain sebum and skin residue.
- Wash hands frequently, especially before applying lotions, creams, or makeup.
- Clean spectacles regularly as they collect sebum and skin residue.
- Allow your skin to breathe by wearing loose clothing if you have acne on the back, shoulders, or chest.
- Headbands, caps, and scarves, and other tight clothing/accessories worsen Acne. Wash them regularly if you use such accessories.
- Always remove makeup before sleeping- it clogs the pores. Choose makeup for sensitive skin and avoid oil-based products.
- Keep hair clean, as it collects sebum and skin residue. Avoid greasy hair products.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun, as your skin may produce more sebum. Several acne medications increase the risk of sunburn.
- Use an electric shaver or sharp safety razors when shaving. Soften the skin and beard with warm soapy water before applying shaving cream.
- Keep your stress & anxiety levels down, as this may stimulate production of cortisol and adrenaline, worsening acne.
- Avoid sweating - try to stay cool & dry in hot and humid climates.