Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.
Effective acne treatments are available, but acne can be persistent. The pimples and bumps heal slowly, and when one begins to go away, others seem to crop up.
Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.
Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms.
Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, and nodules are all types of acne.
It is the most common skin condition in the India, affecting up to 40 million Indians yearly.
It commonly occurs during puberty, when the sebaceous glands activate, but it can occur at any age. It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars.
The glands produce oil and are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands in both males and females.
At least 90 percent of people in the India experience acne between the ages of 12 and 24 years.
If you have acne, you might notice a mix of pimple types.
Whiteheads and blackheads, both also referred to as comedones, are the most common acne lesions.
Blackheads, or open comedones, open at the surface of your skin. Oxygen in the air (not dirt) gives the top of these pimples their darker appearance.
Whiteheads, or closed comedones, form as raised bumps under the surface of your skin. They remain flesh-colored.
Inflammatory lesions, which are more likely to cause scarring of your skin, include:
Papules. These small, red, raised bumps are caused by inflamed or infected hair follicles.
Pustules. These small red pimples have pus at their tips.
Nodules. These solid, often painful lumps develop beneath the surface of your skin.
Cysts. These large lumps beneath your skin contain pus and are usually painful.
Acne signs vary depending on the severity of your condition:
Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.
Human skin has pores that connect to oil glands under the skin. Follicles connect the glands to the pores. Follicles are small sacs that produce and secrete liquid.
The glands produce an oily liquidTrusted Source called sebum. 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 grow 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 gets infected with bacteria, and swelling results. A pimple starts to develop when the plug begins to break down.
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the name of the bacteria that live on the skin and contributes to the infection of pimples.
Research suggestsTrusted Source that the severity and frequency of acne depend on the strain of bacteria. Not all acne bacteria trigger pimples. One strain helps to keep the skin pimple-free.
A range of factors triggers acne, but the main cause is thought to be a rise in androgen levels.
Androgen is a type of hormone, the levels of which rise when adolescence begins. In women, it gets converted into estrogen.
Rising androgen levels cause the oil 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 studies suggestTrusted Source that genetic factors may increase the risk.
The acne treatment plan that’s right for you depends on many considerations, including:
While a treatment plan can vary from one patient to the next, even for 2 patients who have the same type of acne, treatment often follows these guidelines.
Whiteheads, blackheads, or both: If you have these breakouts, you’ll likely apply acne medication to your skin. Your treatment plan may include one of the following:
Pimples: Mild or moderate pimples can be treated with medication you apply to your skin. Treatment will often consist of applying one of the following:
Women who continue to get breakouts may need medication, such as a birth control pill that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat acne. The birth control patch may also be effective, as can some other medications.
You’ll find more information about stubborn acne that women can develop at: Stubborn acne? Hormonal therapy may help
Acne nodules and cysts: If you have deep, painful acne that often leaves a permanent acne scar, effective treatment can help you see clearer skin and prevent new scars.
Treatment may consist of:
To help you get the best possible results from treatment, your dermatologist may also recommend adding one of the following to your treatment plan.
Laser or light therapy: Studies show that laser and light devices can help to clear acne. This type of treatment works best when combined with other acne treatment.
A corticosteroid injection: If you have a large, extremely painful and deep acne breakout, a dermatologist can inject it with a corticosteroid. This can rapidly relieve the pain and the size of the breakout. While effective, this treatment is reserved for treating a few severe acne breakouts. Using it more than a few times can cause side effects.
A healthy diet: Some studies suggest that what you eat can also help to give you clearer skin. If you think that what you’re eating could be causing breakouts, be sure to find out what the research shows.
Preventing acne is difficult if not impossible during normal hormonal changes. But some things can help:
When Should I See a Dermatologist for Acne?:
If over-the-counter acne treatments and gentle face washing doesn’t work for you, it’s a good time to schedule an appointment with us. Cases of severe acne require a more aggressive treatment plan to prevent acne scars from occurring. We can determine the best method for treating your acne at The Velvet Skin Centre with Dr. Asma, Dermatologist & Aesthetics Surgeon
What Acne Treatments Are Available?:
There are several acne treatments available based on your age, gender, and severity, among other factors. Mild or moderate cases of acne can be treated with topical creams or gels. Oral antibiotics or hormone controlling medications can be effective for more inflammatory acne. Isotretinoin (accutane) is a helpful tool for very stubborn or very severe acne. Other types of acne therapy can also be used, such as can certain light or Lasers like Fractional CO2. The Velvet Skin Centre utilizes a variety of acne treatment methods, so contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Does acne go away?:
Of course, we often associate acne with our teenage years and early 20s, when our hormones are changing and we become prone to breakouts or cystic acne. In fact, around 80% of teens suffer from spots at some point during these years.
But acne can still affect us at other times in our lives, particularly if we have a poor diet, are stressed, or have naturally oily skin. Excess sebum is one of the biggest contributors to acne.
The best way to cure acne is to find and deal with the root cause – but if the reason is out of your control, there are things you can do to manage and reduce your acne, such as treating it with medication, topical creams, a healthy diet and a good skincare regime.
What acne treatment is right for me?:
If you’re unsure what acne treatment is right for you, you can take a acne assessment with our medical team for impartial help and advice. Top priority is to identify the underlying causes of your acne, in order to find the best way of curing it. If non-prescription treatments have so far not worked for you, now is the time to speak to us.