A common skin condition affecting 85% of people at some point in their lives is Acne. This condition occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells or oil. When you observe blackheads, cysts, pimples, pustules, and whiteheads, they are still different types of acne. Acne occurs commonly during puberty, when the sebaceous glands are activated and it can also occur at any age. It is not life threatening but it can leave scars on the skin affecting your body image. Acne can be persistent, cropping up again as one begins to go away but effective treatments are available. Based on its severity, acne can give you emotional distress and unpleasant scar on the skin. If you start the treatment early, the risk for such distress will be reduced.

 Quick Facts about Acne

  • Acne is a skin condition resulting from blockage of hair follicles with oil or dead skin cells
  • Everyone can get acne
  • Even clean skin gets acne
  • Your diet affects your acne
  • Exfoliating is not your friend
  • Acne can be treated.
  • Predisposing factors include genetics, anxiety, stress, menstrual cycle, hot and humid climates, using oil based makeup products, popping pimples.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms depend on the severity of your condition. They include

  • Blackheads (open plugged pores)
  • Small, red, tender bumps
  • Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
  • Solid painful lumps
  • Painful, pus-filled lumps under the surface of the skin

Causes

    • Your skin has a pore that is in connection to oil glands under the skin. The Hair follicles which are small sacs that produce and secrete liquid connect the glands to the pores. The glands produce an oily liquid termed sebum. Sebum transports dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. Pimples occur when these follicles get blocked, and oil builds up under the skin. This plug later gets infected with bacteria, and results to swelling. The bacteria that live on the skin contributing to the infection of a pimple is Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes).
    • Androgen is a type of hormone that rises during adolescence. In women, it gets converted to estrogen. Another factor that triggers acne is the rise in androgen level.
    • Some studies suggest that genetic factors may increase the risk. Other related causes are some medication that contains androgen, oily cosmetics, hormonal changes, emotional stress and menstruation.

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Treatment

  • A dermatologist can prescribe medications to control your acne, avoid scarring or make the scars less noticeable. The mechanism of action of acne medications is by reducing oil production, fighting the bacterial infection and reducing inflammation. This ofcourse helps prevent scarring.
  • Topical medications can be prescribed. This comes as creams and lotions that can be applied to the area.
  • Antibiotics can also be prescribed and it works by eliminating excess skin bacteria that reduces redness and swelling. There can be combination of one or more types.
  • In some cases, combined oral contraceptives are prescribed but they have side effects such as weight gain, nausea and breast tenderness.
  • Your health provider may prescribe anti-androgen agents example of such Aldactone if oral antibiotics isn’t working for you. It helps to lock the effect of androgen hormones on the oil glands.

Other therapies include

  • Lasers and photodynamic therapy
  • Chemical peel
  • Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads
  • Steroid injection.

 Lifestyle and home remedies for Acne

It is possible to avoid or control mild acne without medications by following the following tips.

  • Wash the area affected with a gentle cleanser. Gently wash your face atleast twice each day with warm water and mild soap. If your acne grows around your hairline, make it a habit to shampoo your hair everyday. However, avoid certain products such as facial scrubs and masks that tend to irritate the skin and worsen acne. Excessive scrubbing can also irritate your skin.
  • Avoid picking pimples because this promotes scarring.
  • Do not burst the pimples, it may spread the infection or push it further down, causing more swelling, blocking and scarring eventually.
  • Avoid irritants. Oily or greasy cosmetics will cause more blockages to the pores. It is more beneficial to use products labeled as water-based or noncomedogenic as they are less likely to result in acne.
  • Refrain from touching the face and when you do, wash hands frequently before and after applying lotions and makeup.
  • Ensure removal of make up before sleep
  • Protect your skin from the sun as this worsens acne or you can use a moisturizer that includes a sunscreen.
  • Always shower after strenuous activities.

 

 

About Dr Habeeb Ali Tunde

Dr. Habeeb Ali Tunde provides the most effective treatments to patients by integrating both conventional and alternative medicine that address all aspects of pain and wellness.

Read more

Follow Dr Habeeb Tunde Ali

Facebook – Dr. Habeeb Ali

Twitter – Dr. Habeeb Ali

YouTube: Dr Habeeb Ali

Website: Dr. Habeeb Tunde Ali

Mentioned on Tribune Online News – Dr. Habeeb Tunde Ali