- 28 Mar, 2017
- Skin disorder Solutions
Acne Can be distressing and annoyingly persistent. Acne lesions heal slowly, and when one begins to resolve, others seem to crop up. This ongoing battle and long-lasting cycle is both wearisome and frustrating.
Hormones likely play a role in the development of acne, making the condition most common in teenagers. But people of all ages can get acne. Some adult women experience mild to moderate acne due to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, their menstrual cycles, or starting or stopping birth control pills.
Teenage and adult acne can take months to treat successfully. Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and lead to scarring of the skin.
The good news is that effective treatments are available. Acne treatment for mild cases usually involves self-care measures, such as washing your skin daily with a gentle cleanser and using an over-the-counter acne cream. Acne treatment for severe cases usually includes one or more prescription medications. Once acne is under control, prevention strategies can help keep your skin clear of breakouts.
Acne typically appears on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders, which are the areas of your skin with the largest number of functional oil glands. Acne can take the following forms:
• Comedones (whiteheads and blackheads). Are created when the openings of hair follicles become clogged and blocked with oil secretions, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria. When comedones are open at the skin surface they're called blackheads because of the dark appearance of the plugs in the hair follicles. When comedones are closed, they're called whiteheads — slightly raised, skin-colored bumps.
• Papules. These are small raised bumps that signal inflammation or infection in the hair follicles. Papules may be red and tender.
• Pustules. Similar to papules, pustules are red, tender bumps with white pus at their tips.
• Nodules. These are large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin. They're formed by the buildup of secretions deep within hair follicles.
• Cysts. These are painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin. These boil-like infections can cause scars.
Causes of Acne
Three factors contribute to the formation of acne:
• Overproduction of oil (sebum).
• Irregular shedding of dead skin cells resulting in irritation of the hair follicles of your skin.
• Buildup of bacteria.
Acne occurs when the hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Each follicle is connected to sebaceous glands. These glands secrete an oily substance known as sebum to lubricate your hair and skin. Sebum normally travels up along the hair shafts and then out through the opening of the hair follicle onto the surface of your skin. When your body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells, the two can build up in the hair follicle and form together as a soft plug.
This plug may cause the follicle wall to bulge and produce a whitehead. Or, the plug maybe open to the surface and may darken, causing a blackhead. Pimples are raised red spots with a white center that develop when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected. Blockages and inflammation that develop deep inside hair follicles produce lumps beneath the surface of your skin called cysts. Other pores in your skin which are the openings of the sweat glands onto your skin, aren't normally involved in acne.
It's not known what causes the increased production of sebum that leads to acne. But a number of factors — including hormones, bacteria, certain medications and heredity — play a role.
Contrary to what some people think, foods have little effect on acne. Acne also isn't caused by dirt. In fact, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse.
Acne usually isn't a serious medical condition. But you may want to seek medical treatment from our qualified dermatologist for persistent pimples or inflamed cysts to avoid scarring or other damage to your skin.
Acne treatments include:
• Topical treatments. Acne lotions may dry up the oil, kill bacteria and promote sloughing of dead skin cells. Over-the-counter lotions are generally mild and contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, salicylic acid or lactic acid as their active ingredient. These products can be helpful for very mild acne. If your acne doesn't respond to these treatments, you may want to see the dermatologist to get a stronger prescription lotion. Tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, Renova) are examples of topical prescription products derived from vitamin A. They work by promoting cell turnover and preventing plugging of the hair follicles. A number of topical antibiotics also are available. They work by killing excess skin bacteria. Often, a combination of such products is required to achieve optimal results.
• Antibiotics. For moderate to severe acne, prescription oral antibiotics may be needed to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. You may need to take these antibiotics for months, and you may need to use them in combination with topical products.
• Isotretinoin. Roaccutane for deep cysts, antibiotics may not be enough. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a powerful medication available for scarring cystic acne or acne that doesn't respond to other treatments. It's very effective, but people who take it need close monitoring by a dermatologist. Isotretinoin is associated with birth defects, so it can't be taken by pregnant women or women who may become pregnant during the course of treatment or within several weeks of concluding treatment.
• Oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives, including a combination of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol , have been shown to improve acne in women. However, oral contraceptives may cause other side effects that you'll want to discuss with your doctor.
• Laser and light therapy. Laser- and light-based therapies reach the deeper layers of skin without harming the skin's surface. Laser treatment is thought to damage the oil (sebaceous) glands, causing them to produce less oil. Light therapy targets the bacterium that causes acne inflammation. These therapies can also improve skin texture and lessen the appearance of scars.