Acne is one of the most common skin disorders globally. Data estimates show that it affects almost 50 million of the American population every year. Although acne is very prevalent during puberty because this is when the body undergoes drastic changes, it can still occur at any age.
Acne is a serious issue that may affect your mental health and physical wellbeing. It leaves scars which interfere with self-esteem. Research shows over 85 percent of Americans usually experience acne between 12-24 years. This article provides an overview of acne, causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
It’s a serious chronic skin condition that causes pimples and spots. Acne is usually prominent on the face but it may affect other body parts including upper arms, chest, shoulders, the neck, and back. Common types of acne include blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, nodules, and pimples.
What are the Causes of Acne?
The skin contains pores which are connected to the oil glands that found beneath the skin. The glands and pores are connected by follicles which secrete liquid. The glands, on the other hand, produce sebum, an oily type of liquid.
The main function of sebum is to carry the dead skin cells via the hair follicles to the skin’s surface. But when the follicles are blocked, the oil buildup leads to the growth of pimples. However, this oil buildup can be triggered by:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Emotional stress
- Some medications especially those that contain androgen and lithium
- Greasy cosmetics
- Diet especially processed and sugar-rich foods
Acne Risk Factors
- Age-it’s usually common in teens
- Genetics has a role in acne and you are more likely to develop it if your family has its history
- Increased skin friction
- Application of oily and greasy substances
What are the Symptoms of Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that exists in different forms. This means that the signs and symptoms usually vary depending on the severity of the acne. Some of the common symptoms of acne include:
- Pimples i.e. pustules which have pus on their tips.
- Blackheads i.e. plugged pores that are open
- Whiteheads i.e. plugged pores that are closed
- Papules i.e. tender and small red bumps
- Cystic lesions i.e. painful lumps that are filled with pus
Nodules i.e. solid, large, and painful lumps which are found beneath the skin surface.
The type of acne treatment depends on its severity. Mild, moderate, and severe acne all have different treatment options and they can be treated with Over-The-Counter drugs or prescription medications.
Mild Acne Treatment
This type of acne can be effectively controlled with OTC drugs including creams, lotions, pads, soaps, and gels. However, lotions and creams are great for sensitive skin while alcohol-based gels are suitable for oily skin types. Best remedies for mild acne treatment include:
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Reduces the production of sebum, kills bacteria, and promotes skin replacement.
- Resorcinol: Suitable for breaking down whiteheads and blackheads.
- Azelaic Acid: Prevents bacterial growth and stops excess excretion of sebum.
- Salicylic acid: Reduces swellings and inflammations. Besides that, it helps to facilitate the breakdown of whiteheads and blackheads.
- Retin-A: Unblocks congested skin pores and shrinks them.
Moderate and Severe Acne Treatment
You can use over-the-counter medications to treat severe and moderate acne. However, the medications need to be stronger. They can be in form of topical or oral antibiotics, creams, and gels.
- Oral antibiotics: Help to reduce the visibility of acne starts. Oral antibiotics can be prescribed up to 6 months. These medications also reduce skin inflammation and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Oral Contraceptives: They help to regulate hormonal production and are suitable for treating acne that’s caused by hormonal imbalances. However, this type of remedy isn’t suitable for women who smoke, suffer from migraines, have blood-clotting problems, and those who are over 35 years.
- Corticosteroid injection: It helps to reduce skin inflammation, prevent scarring, and also accelerate the healing process. Corticosteroid helps to breakdown severely inflamed cysts.
- Topical antimicrobials: They help to unclog the skin pores. Besides that, topical antimicrobials help to prevent the development of blackheads and whiteheads.
According to dermatologists, acne is one of the most common skin disorders that affect a large number of people. However, it’s a manageable problem that can be regulated using certain home remedies which include:
- A diet that’s rich in vitamin E, vitamin A, and zinc.
- Tea-tree oil which helps to reduce acne inflammation
- Green tea contains polyphenols which help to reduce sebum production.
- Moisturizers which can help to soothe the skin and reduce skin inflammations.
- Avoid stress and get enough sleep.
Acne can appear anywhere on your body but its most commonly experienced on the face. This skin condition exists in various forms and has different levels of severity. Acne treatment options may be in the form of over-the-counter or prescription medications. But apart from those, it can be managed by using healthier lifestyle changes.