Contribution: Nancy Dixit
In a word, acne is a pain! Let’s start by understanding exactly what acne is and how it occurs.
What is acne??
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is basically a skin condition that develops due to hair follicles getting stuck. Skin pores get stuck in oil, dust or dead skin cells, which can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, red spots on the skin or pus-filled acne.
Acne mainly affects the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.
Different types of acne
The most common acne lesions are whiteheads and blackheads, also known as comedones.
- Whiteheads or closed comedones – small and under the surface of the skin
- Blackheads or open comedones- black in color and visible on the surface.
Inflammatory acne lesions are more likely to be scarred, including-
- Papules (raised wounds)
- Pus (wound with pus)
- Cyst (nodule filled with pus or fluid)
Acne mainly affects teenagers and adults in their 30’s, 40’s or even 50’s. Pimples are the worst or most embarrassing thing you all get, especially when you get hurt in adolescence.
As the saying goes, “Adolescence is just a big walking pimple.”
In fact, there are some Myths and misconceptions About acne, e.g.
Myth # 1: Acne is caused by a bad diet
Fact: So far, the study has not found any food that causes acne.
Myth # 2: The best way to get rid of acne by pressing blackheads and whiteheads
No, actually doing it can actually make your symptoms worse and leave you with a scar.
Myth # 3: Sexual activity can affect acne–
The truth is, sexual activity or masturbation literally has nothing to do with acne.
Myth # 4: Acne is contagious
No, acne is non-contagious and cannot go to another person.
Causes of acne
Acne mainly affects people because of the small pores of the skin, known as the hair follicles.
Androgens are sex hormones, which increase especially during adolescence, thus leading to the growth of sebaceous glands and the production of more oil and sebum than needed. Excessive sebum blocks hair follicles or pores and leads to acne or pimple formation.
However, there are several other factors that can exacerbate acne, such as-
- Medicine– Some drugs including steroids, brain disease-related drugs, anti-epileptic drugs, etc.
- Some cosmetic products– Since acne-prone skin is very sensitive, it is advisable to use dermatologically tested products, especially those that are non-comedogenic so that they do not clog the pores of the skin.
- Smoking– Can also contribute to acne, especially in the elderly.
- Genetics– There is a tendency to get acne in the family. If one of your parents is acne prone, it can also make your skin acne prone.
- Diet– According to a 2021 review, certain foods or diets can affect acne. Although, so far, studies have shown that no food can cause acne. But yes, according to some nutritionists, there are some foods that have a high glycemic index (GI) or sugar content, which can make your acne worse.
High GI foods such as white rice, white bread, pasta, sugar, etc. raise blood sugar levels even faster. It secretes growth factor-1 hormone like insulin in the blood.
When this hormone is produced in large quantities, it increases the production of sebum, which can lead to the risk of acne and inflammation.
Hormones– Adolescent acne is known to start in boys and girls due to increased levels of the hormone androgen during adolescence. It dilates or over-activates the sebaceous glands and produces more sebum than needed, which eventually leads to acne.
Hormonal changes during middle life, especially in women, can also lead to breakouts.
Acne in women– Women are more likely to get acne than men. At certain times, there may be hormonal imbalances in certain situations like period, pregnancy or menopause, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) etc. which can lead to acne.
Signs and symptoms of acne
- Whiteheads (closed plug hole)
- Blackheads (open plugged holes)
- Papules (raised wounds)
- Rash (lungs), which have pus at the tip
- Large, hard, painful nodules under the skin
- Painful, cystic lesions under the skin
How to treat acne?
Depending on the severity of the condition, the type of acne, or special factors such as your age, a dermatologist may prescribe you oral or topical medications.
Includes topical medications
Antibiotics and retinoids- Dermatologists may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics (such as erythromycin or tetracycline) and retinoids (such as tretinoin or adapalin) to treat acne. Because only topical antibiotics are usually not recommended.
Doctors can start with low effective doses, as a high dose and prolonged treatment can cause adverse effects.
In the early stages of treatment, the doctor may recommend the use of both a retinoid and an antibiotic, with antibiotics applied in the morning and retinoids applied in the evening.
Contraceptives for oral use- Hormone therapy or combined oral contraceptive pills can help control acne in women by suppressing the overactive glands.
Azelaic acid and salicylic acid– In addition to its antibacterial properties, azelaic acid can also be used to control the discoloration that occurs with certain types of acne.
Dapson– It is Prescribed for inflammatory acne lesions, especially in women with acne.
Topical anti-androgens– Clascoterone is a topical anti-androgen drug, which belongs to a new class of treatment that targets hormones that cause an outbreak.
Note: Be sure to see a dermatologist to confirm the severity of the condition before following a rule. Do not self-medicate.
Oral medications included
Oral antibiotics- Antibiotics work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing redness Inflammation. It is usually recommended for long-term treatment. Take as long as the doctor advises. Even if you see improvement in symptoms, do not stop treatment midway through on your own. Complete a full course of antibiotic treatment.
Examples of oral antibiotics may include tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, etc. But, refrain from self-medication. After proper skin diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe appropriate antibiotics.
Isotretinoin- It works by reducing the secretion of oil or sebum from the sebaceous glands and thus limiting inflammation or redness and reducing stuck hair follicles.
Home Remedies for Acne
Nowadays people are spending thousands of rupees to get expensive treatment for acne. But you can still control mild acne by applying simple home remedies. Here are a few!
Aloe vera is rich in antioxidants, salicylic acid and sulfur. According to ResearchApplying aloe vera can help reduce acne.
You can scrape the gel directly from the aloe vera tree with a spoon and apply it directly on the skin as a moisturizer.
In addition to sipping green tea which has its own benefits of being an antioxidant, it can be applied to the skin to take care of mild acne.
Let the prepared green tea cool, and then apply it to the skin with a cotton ball, let it stay for a while and then rinse with water.
Yellow facial mask
Yellow is known as the most effective and traditionally used home remedy for beautiful skin. But did you know that it can prevent acne and blemishes?
You can make a facial mask of turmeric and add other ingredients like almond oil, honey, yogurt or gram flour etc. as per your choice or convenience.
Add enough water to make a paste of it, apply it for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
Cucumber has a soothing effect on the skin and helps reduce inflammation.
You can make a paste by mixing a small cucumber and 1 cup oatmeal. Apply it for at least 30 minutes and then rinse with water.
Egg white mask
According to experts, eggs contain lysozyme, which is known to kill acne-causing bacteria, thus making eggs a great ‘home acne treatment’.
Separate the egg white from the yolk, apply it with a cotton ball, let it rest for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off.
The latest thought
Acne treatment is a long process, and it can take weeks to weeks to heal. So you have to be patient and follow the doctor’s advice. In addition to treating acne, a good skin care routine and proper hydration are required.
“Here’s a tip for ongoing prescription acne treatment – don’t use other treatments or home remedies. Otherwise, they can make acne worse.”
In addition, you should choose frequent preventive health screenings. It gives you vital insights into your health, allowing you to take the necessary steps to improve it.
Book a complete physical health exam today!
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