What is Acne: Causes, Tips and treatment at home
|Acne: Causes, Tips and treatment at home|
What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that happens when hair follicles under the skin become clogged. Oil and dead skin cells plug the pores, and outbreaks of lesions (often called pimples or zits) can happen. Most often, the outbreaks occur on the face but can also appear on the back, chest, and shoulders.
For most people, acne tends to go away by the time they reach their thirties, but some people in their forties and fifties continue to have this skin problem.
|Things to know About Acne |
*Acne is a common skin condition that happens when hair follicles under the skin become clogged.
*Acne causes several types of lesions, or pimples.
*Medications and other procedures such as laser and light therapies are the most common treatments.
*The goals of treatment are to help heal lesions, stop new lesions from forming, and prevent scarring.
*Acne can cause embarrassment or make you feel shy or anxious. If you have any of these feelings, talk to your doctor.
Acne in women
Women are more likely to have adult acne than men. It's thought that many cases of adult acne are caused by the changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times.
These times include:
- periods – some women have a flare-up of acne just before their period
- pregnancy – many women have symptoms of acne at this time, usually during the first 3 months of their pregnancy
- polycystic ovary syndrome – a common condition that can cause acne, weight gain and the formation of small cysts inside the ovary
|Facts about acne |
Acne is a skin disease involving the oil glands at the base of hair follicles.
It affects 3 in every 4 people aged 11 to 30 years.
It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars.
Treatment depends on how severe and persistent it is.
Risk factors include genetics, the menstrual cycle, anxiety and stress, hot and humid climates, using oil-based makeup, and squeezing pimples.
Causes of Acne
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 liquid 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 suggests 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.
Ways to prevent acne and Home remedies
Keep your face clean
Whether or not you have acne, it's important to wash your face twice daily to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and extra oil from your skin's surface. Washing more often than twice daily is not necessarily better; it may do more harm than good. Use warm, not hot, water and a mild facial cleanser. Using a harsh soap (like deodorant body soap) can hurt already inflamed skin and cause more irritation.
Avoid scrubbing your skin harshly with a washcloth, an exfoliating glove, or loofah (a coarse-textured sponge). Gently wash it with a very soft cloth or your hands. Always rinse well, and then dry your face with a clean towel. (Toss the towel in the laundry hamper, as dirty towels spread bacteria.) Also, use the washcloth only once.
Many acne products contain ingredients that dry the skin, so always use a moisturizer that minimizes dryness and skin peeling. Look for "noncomedogenic" on the label, which means it should not cause acne. There are moisturizers made for oily, dry, or combination skin.
Try an over-the-counter acne product
These acne products don't need a prescription. Most of them have ingredients could curb bacteria and dry your skin. They may cause drying or peeling so start with a small amount at first. Then you can adjust how much you use and how often. Another option is a new OTC topical retinoid gel (Differin 0.1% gel). It works to actually keep the acne from forming. Use these products with caution if you have sensitive skin.
Use makeup sparingly
During a breakout, avoid wearing foundation, powder, or blush. If you do wear makeup, wash it off at the end of the day. If possible, choose oil-free cosmetics without added dyes and chemicals. Choose makeup that is labeled as "noncomedogenic," meaning it should not cause acne. Read the ingredients list on the product label before buying.
Watch what you put on your hair
Avoid using fragrances, oils, pomades, or gels on your hair. If they get on your face, they can block your skin's pores and irritate your skin. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner. Oily hair can add to the oil on your face, so wash your hair often, especially if you're breaking out. Got long hair? Keep it pulled away from your face.
Keep your hands off your face
Avoid touching your face or propping your cheek or chin on your hands. Not only can you spread bacteria, you can also irritate the already inflamed facial skin. Never pick or pop pimples with your fingers, as it can lead to infection and scarring.
Stay out of the sun
The sun's ultraviolet rays can increase inflammation and redness, and can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark discoloration). Some acne medications may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a broad-brimmed hat.
Whether you have pimples or not, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with 6% zinc oxide or higher and SPF 30 or higher at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Look for "noncomedogenic" on the sunscreen label to make new pimples less likely. Read the ingredients on the product label to know what you're putting on your skin.
Feed your skin
Most experts agree that certain foods, like chocolate, don't cause pimples. Still, it makes sense to avoid greasy food and junk food and add more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. Dairy products and foods high in processed sugar may trigger acne. Avoid these.
Regular exercise is good for your whole body, including your skin. When you exercise, avoid wearing clothing or using exercise equipments that rubs your skin and may cause irritation. Shower or bathe right after exercise.
|The most important tip for you is to control stress. Some studies link stress with the severity of pimples or acne. Ask yourself what's making you feel stressed. Then look for solutions.|
Treatment of Acne
Mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as gels, soaps, pads, creams, and lotions, that are applied to the skin.
Creams and lotions are best for sensitive skin. Alcohol-based gels dry the skin and are better for oily skin.
Treating moderate to severe acne
A skin specialist, or dermatologist, can treat more severe cases.
They may prescribe a gel or cream similar to OTC medications but stronger, or an oral or topical antibiotic.
If an acne cyst becomes severely inflamed, it may rupture. This can lead to scarring.
A specialist may treat an inflamed cyst by injecting a diluted corticosteroid.
This can help prevent scarring, reduce inflammation, and speed up healing. The cyst will break down within a few days.
Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for up to 6 months for patients with moderate to severe acne.
These aim to lower the population of P. Acnes. The dosage will start high and reduce as the acne clears.
P. acnes can become resistant to the antibiotic in time, and another antibiotic is needed. Acne is more likely to become resistant to topical rather than oral antibiotics.
Antibiotics can combat the growth of bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Erythromycin and tetracycline are commonly prescribed for acne, according to Medicalnewstoday.
Oral contraceptives can help control acne in women by suppressing the overactive gland. They are commonly used as long-term acne treatments.
These may not be suitable for women who:
- have a blood-clotting disorder
- have a history of migraines
- are over 35 years old
Topical antimicrobials also aim to reduce P. acnes in patients with moderate to severe acne. Examples are clindamycin and sodium sulfacetamide.
The dermatologist may prescribe a topical retinoid.
Topical retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A. They unclog the pores and prevent whiteheads and blackheads from developing.
Examples of topical retinoids prescribed in the U.S. are adapalene, tazarotene, and tretinoin.
This is a strong, oral retinoid, used for the treatment of severe cystic acne and severe acne that has not responded to other medications and treatments.
It is a strictly controlled medication with potentially serious side effects. The patient must sign a consent form to say that they understand the risks.
Adverse effects include dry skin, dry lips, nosebleeds, fetal abnormalities if used during pregnancy, and mood swings.
Patients who take isotretinoin must avoid vitamin A supplements, as these could lead to vitamin A toxicity, according to Medicalnewstoday.
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