By Medicover Hospitals / 10 Mar 2021
A skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne is more common in adolescents and young adults. Symptoms range from uninflamed blackheads to pus-filled pimples or large, red, tender bumps. Treatments include over-the-counter creams and cleansers, and prescription antibiotics.
- What is Acne?
- When to visit a Doctor?
- Home remedies
What is Acne?
- Acne is a disorder that causes breakouts of skin lesions commonly known as pimples. Acne lesions mainly occur on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. It is the most common skin disease. Although acne is not a serious health threat, severe acne can lead to disfiguring and permanent scars.
- It mostly affects Adolescents during puberty because of hormonal changes, However, it can upset at any age. The prior you begin treatment, the lower will be the risk. Acne Scars can cause emotional distress, an individual can go for acne scar removal treatment to get rid of acne scars.
- The clogged pores can cause acne as sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) connected to pores and secrete oil that naturally hydrates skin.
- When this gland produces an excess of oil, dead skin cells and debris can fuse with the oil and develop skin breakouts. This condition turns into a ground for bacteria, that causes the redness and swelling associated with skin breakouts likely to cause pain if touched, keeping your hand away from them can prevent it from spreading.
- Blackheads: Open bumps on the skin that loads up with excess oil and dead cells. They look like dirt has accumulated in the bump, but perhaps the deficient in essentials is caused by an abnormal light that is reflected from the clogged follicle.
- Whiteheads: Bumps which is remained closed by oil and dead skin.
- Papules: Small red or pink bumps which become inflamed.
- Pustules: Pimples that contain pus. They look something like whiteheads. surrounded by red rings. They can cause some serious reaction if they are scratched.
- Fungal Acne: This type occurs when an excess of yeast develops in the hair follicles. It can become itchy and inflamed.
- Nodules: It’s a solid pimple that is present deep inside the skin. They are large and very painful.
- Cysts: Pus-filled pimples will cause scars in your skins.
- Human skin has pores that connect to the sebaceous glands under the skin. The follicles connect the glands to the pores. Follicles are small sacs that produce and secrete fluid.
- The glands produce an oily liquid called sebum. The sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. A small hair grows through the follicle out of the skin.
- Pimples develop when these follicles get blocked and oil builds up under the skin.
- Skin cells, sebum, and hair can clump together into a plug. This plug becomes infected with bacteria and causes swelling. A pimple begins to develop when the plug begins to decompose.
- Propionibacterium acnes is the name of the bacteria that live on the skin and contribute to the infection of pimples.
- Research suggests that the severity and frequency of acne depend on the bacterial strain. Not all acne bacteria trigger pimples. A strain helps keep the skin pimple-free.
- A series of factors trigger acne, but the main cause is thought to be an increase in androgen levels.
- Androgen is a type of hormone that increases in levels during early adolescence. In women, it turns into estrogen.
- The increase in androgen levels causes the growth of the sebaceous glands under the skin. The enlarged gland produces more sebum. Too much sebum can break down the cell walls of the pores, causing bacteria to grow.
Other Possible Triggers
Some studies suggest that genetic factors can increase the risk.
Other causes include:
- Certain medication containing androgens and lithium
- Oily cosmetics
- Hormonal changes
- Emotional stress
- Age: Acne can occur to people irrespective of their age group.
- Hormonal changes: It is common in women, children, girls caused by puberty or pregnancy.
- Hereditary: Family History plays a vital role in acne. If both parents have acne, they are high chances to develop it.
- Greasy or oily substances: There are high chances of developing acne if skin comes into contact with oily lotion and cream.
- Friction or pressure on the skin: Pressure or friction to acne-prone skin causes infection Eg: contact with phones, helmet, tight collars, etc.
- Stress: Stress may not cause acne, but if a person is already suffering from acne, it may get worse.
If you have signs of acne, your dermatologist can make a diagnosis by examining your skin. Your dermatologist will identify the lesions and their severity to determine the best treatment.
- To figure out the best acne treatment it is very important to understand the acne meaning, its severity, and the acne causes. If you have mild acne and occasional breakouts, you may self-diagnose your skin and use the right acne cream, acne face wash, acne gel, and any other products, home remedies and follow a proper acne treatment routine.
- If you have used over-the-counter acne products for several weeks and it hasn’t helped and made your acne worse, consult a dermatologist to avoid acne scars or any damage to your skin and to make acne scars less visible.
- At the time of skin Consultation, a Dermatologist will closely examine the acne and might question medical history, past acne breakouts, and women will be asked about the menstrual cycles to determine if hormones are playing a significant impact on acne. Though the treatment will depend on age, the type, and severity of acne.
- The signs and observations made during the exam might show the health issues that require different treatment plans. A doctor or dermatologist may run multiple tests to identify the disease or illness that could be the root cause of skin infection. It is advised that pregnant women shouldn’t use oral prescription medication for acne.
These are the most commonly prescribed medications for Acne:
- Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs: It mostly comes as an acne cream, gels, and lotions. This can be applied in the evening, beginning three times a week, then daily as skin becomes used to it. It prevents by plugging the hair follicles.
- Antibiotics: For severe to moderate acne treatment, it works by killing bacteria and reducing redness. For the initial months of treatment, you can use both a retinoid and an antibiotic, with the antibiotic applied in the morning and the retinoid in the evening. The antibiotics are mostly combined with benzoyl peroxide to prevent the likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance. Example: Clindamycin with Benzoyl peroxide Benzaclin, Duac, Acanya) and Erythromycin with Benzoyl peroxide (Benzamycin). Topical antibiotics alone are not recommended.
- Salicylic acid and azelaic acid: Its antibacterial properties make it the most effective treatment for acne without causing damage to the skin. It also reduces redness and calms skin inflammation as pores open up and clear out. Salicylic acid helps to prevent clogged hair follicles and is available as both wash-off and leave-on products. It can be used twice a day for at least four weeks.
- Dapsone: Dapsone (Aczone) 5% gel twice a day daily is recommended for acne infection, especially in adult females with acne. The side effects may include redness and dryness.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: For mild acne, the doctor may recommend a nonprescription drug that contains benzoyl peroxide. It is believed that it kills bacteria associated with acne. It mostly takes at least four weeks to treat acne and should be used continuously.
These therapies might be suitable as suggested in a few selected cases, either alone or it may be a combination with medications.
- Lasers and photodynamic therapy: This is a light-based therapy that has been tried with some success. However, further study is needed to find the ideal method, light source, and dose.
- Chemical peel: This procedure includes repeated applications of a chemical solution, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid. However, improvement in acne is not long-lasting and may appear again which leads to repeat treatment.
- Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads: The doctor might use special tools to gently remove whiteheads and blackheads that haven’t cleared up with topical medications. This technique may lead to a scar.
- Steroid injection: Nodular and cystic lesions are treated by injecting a steroid drug directly into them. This therapy resulted in rapid improvement and less pain. Side effects may include thinning in the treated area.
When to visit a Doctor?
Call your provider or a dermatologist if:
- Self-care steps and over-the-counter medications don't help after several months
- Your acne is very bad
- Your acne is getting worse
- You develop scars as your acne goes away
- Acne causes emotional stress
Acne prevention plays a crucial role in reducing acne by following good basic skincare, and other self-care techniques to get clear and healthy skin:
- Use a mild cleanser twice a day to get rid of excess oil, dirt, and dead cells.
- Try over-the-counter acne products containing (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids) to get rid of excess oil and promote peeling.
- Avoid oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreen, and concealer, etc.
- Protect your skin from the sun.
- Avoid pressure or friction to acne-prone skin Eg: contact with phones, helmet, tight collars, etc.
- Refrain touching the acne-prone area as it can lead to more infection.
- Avoid picking, squeezing, or popping pimples. It can lead to scarring and skin infection.
- Remove makeup before sleeping.
- Drink more water.
- Avoid Oily Food.
- Keep your hair as oil-free and clean as possible and never sleep with oil on your hair.
- Apple Cider Vinegar can apply to affected skin as it fights many types of bacteria and acne.
- Tea Tree oil for acne treatment, has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the redness of pimples and kills and the bacteria that cause acne.
- Jojoba Oil the sticky substances in the jojoba oil help to repair damaged skin and speed up to heal wounds including acne.
- Aloe vera has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the appearance of acne and prevent acne breakouts.
- Honey is used to treating skin infections such as acne as it comprises many antioxidants that help to clear dirt and debris from clogged pores.
- Green Tea has the antioxidant property that breaks down chemicals and waste products that can damage healthy cells and clear dirt and debris that have built up across acne sores.
- Coconut Oil is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compound that destroys acne-causing antibacterial compounds.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Healing acne takes time and may not have an immediate effect, even for milder acne. It can be prevented by getting rid of excess oil, dirt, and sweat from a face and by following a regular skincare regime such as washing your face twice a day, stay hydrated, avoid scrubbing acne-prone areas, limit sun exposure, avoid popping or squeezing a pimple.
Cystic acne is a most severe type of skin break out in which the pores in the skin get blocked by excess oil, dead cells, and bacteria and may lead to painful lesions, blackheads, whiteheads, aggravation, and scars. It is the most extreme form and affects far fewer individuals and may vary from patient-to-patient and the same treatment may not work for everyone.
Acne scars are permanent, so it’s very important to see a dermatologist if you are developing them. Acne treatment will help in the prevention of scarring by stopping more spots from forming.
Acne develops in specific zones because of some internal issues which can include high blood pressure, dehydration, and digestive wellbeing.
Makeup can be applied on the skin with one requirement you should always wipe off or remove the makeup from your face before going to bed and avoid cosmetics with greasy or oily substances that can clog open pores and cause an acne breakout.
Therapy for Acne Vulgaris - https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199704173361607
Post adolescent acne- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2133.1997.d01-1144.x
Facial acne in adults - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190962299800565