Acne can have a very intense impact on teenagers and adults, but the acne effects are mostly seen in adolescence when teenagers are developing their personalities. Acne does not depend on the severity. It can be mild and moderate but can leave lifetime effects, mainly on the face. Acne has a great impact on one’s physique. People in the age group of 13 to 25 are more likely to develop acne.
This is why Acne treatment plays a significant part in our lives. By taking this treatment, your acne is less likely to leave scars because the medications and antibiotics also kill the bacteria that cause acne and enhance the look of your skin. This directly means less acne on the skin and less redness too. It is a blessing for people with severe acne or scarring on the face.
What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that affects many people around the world. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that’s hot or painful to touch. Acne most commonly develops during puberty, but it can affect adults as well. Acne is caused when tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked. Sebaceous glands are small glands found near the surface of your skin.
The glands are attached to hair follicles, which are small holes in your skin that an individual hair grows out of. Sebaceous glands lubricate the hair and skin to stop it drying out. The sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum travels along the hair shafts and comes out through the tiny holes (pores). It may cause short-term hair loss on your forehead, back and shoulders.
Where Does Acne Most Commonly Occur?
Everyone suffers from common acne at some point in life, and it is estimated that 80% of the population experience acne in the age group 11 to 30. Pigmentation and scarring are common problems. Generally, it begins in puberty because of the sudden rise in the hormone level because hormones are at zenith during the teen years, but people in their 40s and 50s can also have acne, just depending on the skin type. It happens regardless of sex. However, teenage boys have more extreme acne cases than girls.
Acne can happen anywhere in the body but is most likely to appear on the chest, head, forehead, face, back, shoulders, upper arms in the human body because these body parts have hairs connected to the oil glands.
An increase in the sex hormones of both males and females causes the sebaceous gland to produce more oil People with oily skin tend to have worse acne. Acne also does not happen because of harmful diet or poor hygiene, and many reasons are behind many forms of acne like heredity and hormones.
Acne most commonly occurs because of the clogging up of the tiny holes in the skin or hair follicles, and this causes the skin bacteria to grow inside and then leads to pimples and cysts. Acne can be hormonal as well as bacterial.
A better understanding of the different causes is needed because early treatment may prevent an increase in acne or cause lifelong scars. It is a common problem, but if it is not treated after using home remedies or is severe, you should see your healthcare provider.
Prevention is Always Better Than Cure
Acne can be prevented by the steps mentioned below:
- Regularly wash your face with mild and natural cleanser and do not scrub more than 2 days a week
- Always put on natural chemical-free moisturizer on the skin
- Always keep your hands at bay with your face.
- Remove makeup (if applied)at the end of the day.
- Always cover your face and the rest of the skin when you go out.
What are the Different Types of Acne?
There are six different types of acne divided into two groups:
Non Inflammatory Acne
- Blackheads: Blackheads are a type of pimple or acne on the skin due to clogged hair follicles. They are called blackheads because they are black bumps on the face. They can also be seen on the back, chest, arms, shoulders. Black colour is due to exposure to the air, and that’s how a blackhead forms. They are easy to spot on the skin because of their colour, and they are not painful as well.
These are some factors that make your skin prone to developing blackheads:
- So much oil on the body
- Rise in Propionibacterium on the skin
- Irregularity in the shedding of dead skin cells lead to irritation of hair bristles
- Sustaining hormonal changes due to menstruation or taking birth control pills etc.
- Taking steroids, drugs.
According to the researchers, there isn’t a strong connection between eating habits and acne. Still, some people believe that eating and drinking more dairy products increase blood sugar levels and play a crucial role in acne.
Treatment of blackheads
- By proper medication
- By removing manually
- By microdermabrasion
- By chemical peels
- By laser and light therapy
- Whiteheads: whiteheads are common acne that remains under the skin, but is visible by a bump. It is formed when dead skin cells get trapped in your skin layer. Due to an increase in oil or amount of sebum, whiteheads can be prevented by medication and lifestyle changes. They mostly appear on the chin and can also appear in the back, shoulder, chest, arms.
Treatment of Whiteheads
Some home remedies and natural remedies can be used to treat Whiteheads, but if they fail, some OTC acne products can be used, such as:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Retinoids creams
- Gentle exfoliants
- Inflammatory Acne
- Papules: Papules are spotted as small red or pink round bumps. It is usually ⅕ of an inch. They do not cause any severe complications. It is usually formed because of the clogging of pores due to excess oil. A papule in some days turns to a pustule, which means it’ll form a yellow puss inside and white head on the outside. A papule is a type of skin lesion.
Acne can also be aggravated by excess sugar intake and excessive stress.
Treatment of Papules
- Antibiotics are effective in the treatment of capsules. They kill excess bacteria on our skin and also help in reducing redness.
- Use of topical benzoyl peroxide
- Use of sulphur-based face washes.
- Warm compress to soften the spot.
- Pustules:This type of pimple has pus or fluid inside them. You should not blow up the pimple because it can cause scarring. Redness, swelling, and pain can be symptoms of serious pustules. Pustules can be noticed on the buttocks, legs, hands, face, back, scalp, etc.
Treatment of Pustules
- They can be treated by using benzoyl peroxide or sulphur base washes because both of them reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
- Minocycline can be taken orally in more critical capsules issues, and clindamycin can be taken topically by the doctor’s prescription.
- Use of calamine lotion
- Keeping chemical products at bay.
Some conditions that can lead to pustules are Acne, Smallpox, Psoriasis, Chickenpox, Rosacea, etc.
- Nodules: Nodules are comparatively larger and deep under the skin, affecting the deeper layer of the skin. They form hard knots under the skin. They take at least two or three weeks or even months to heal. Redness can be seen around the bump.
Treatment of Nodules
- The over the counter treatments for this type of scene usually do not work because this acne affects the deep layers of the skin, requiring intense treatments. So it is best to consult a doctor before taking any type of medication.
- Cysts: This type of acne contains fluid, pus, air, or other substances. Cysts can germinate anywhere in your body. It is commonly found on the face, head, neck, or genitals. It looks like a bump filled with a yellow substance. It can be painful if it is inflamed.
Different types of cysts are:
- Epidermoid cyst
- Breast cyst
- Ganglion cyst
- Pilonidal cyst
- Ovarian cyst
- Popliteal cyst
- Pilar cyst
- Mucous cyst
- Branchial cleft cyst
- Perineural cyst
- Sebaceous cyst
- Cyst Acne
- Folliculitis cyst
Treatment of Cyst:
- Minor surgery in which a needle or a small cut on the surface of the cyst which has a yellow puss. This treatment is called Excision. A professional doctor should do this surgery.
All these acne can be severe and can lead to serious complications, and it is better to seek early help from a healthcare provider for the treatment.
What are the Causes of Acne?
There are some reasons why acne is caused :
- Excessive Oil Production: Sebum is released by the oil glands, which drifts up the hair, And into your skin. The main function of sebum is to keep your skin lubricated and soft and stop your skin from drying out. The face, forehead, chest, and upper back are the acne-prone areas in our body because these areas have sebaceous glands. In addition, hair bristles are also attached to the oil glands.
- Clogged Hair Bristles: Due to the clogging of the hair bristles, it may swell and create a white head, or the plug might open (which turns brown when exposed to the air because of the bacteria and oil congested in the pores )and forms a blackhead.
- Bacteria and Inflammation: Pimples raised as red spots like papules when blocked with hair follicles become inflamed. It may create lumps beneath the surface of your skin.
- Genetics: Acne can run in families. It is found in research that if both of your parents have acne, you can also experience severe acne at an early age and might get acne after a teenager.
- Acne in Women: women tend to have acne at three times
- During periods
- During pregnancy
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
Some other causes are mentioned below :
- Cosmetics products can also trigger acne.
- Usage of Medications like steroids and lithium and some medical drugs
- Smoking can also aggravate acne
- Picking at acne can make it worse
- Using oily skincare products can lead to an increase in acne
- Stress is also a factor for making acne worse
- Chemical cleaners and scrubbing repeatedly.
- Repeatedly washing of the face.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Proper shower after heavy exercise as sweating and oil can lead to breakouts.
- Avoid your acne-prone skin to any kind of friction.
According to the 2021 review, some foods might have an impact on acne:
- For example, consuming more dairy products like milk and ice cream can worsen acne for some people. Cheese does not have any effect.
- Vegan and vegetarian diets offer plenty of health benefits but are proven less beneficial in treating acne.
- Not eating processed meat and refined carbs would help in reducing acne.
Myths About Acne
- Eating more chocolate and oily food affects the skin. It is harmful if eaten in abundance.
- Acne is caused by not maintaining hygiene.
- The use of cosmetics worsens acne.
- A poor diet causes acne.
- Picking at blackheads, Whiteheads is the best option
- Having sex can influence acne
- Revelation to sunlight can cause acne.
- It is a contagious disease and can be passed on to others.
How is Acne Diagnosed?
Acne is diagnosed by checking if you want to find out why acne is consistently showing up, which means to find out the root cause of the acne and how to get rid of it. In addition, some tests are advised by the doctors. These tests are known as hormonal tests.
Acne is also ranked or graded by severity.
Grade 1: It is mild, mostly Whitehead and blackheads are covered in this grade
Grade 2: It is moderate, papules and pustules on the face
Grade 3: In this, numerous capsules and pustules are on the face, along with some nodules.
Grade 4: In this large, inflatable pustules and nodules are included.
Some hormonal tests are:-
- DHEA-S(Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate): It is a test done to constrain the working of the adrenal glands.
- SHBG(Sex Hormone Binding Globulin): if the SHBG level is low in a women’s body, it may result in acne. The liver excretes this protein. To maintain the level, one should do regular exercises and aerobics and cut down the intake of calories.
According to the researchers, low SHBG and high levels of DHEA-S are the most commonly seen in cases of severe acne.
The doctors also recommend some therapies to the patients:
- Laser or light therapy
- A corticosteroid injection
- A healthy diet.
- Chemical peels for blackheads and Whiteheads
- Excision of the cyst.
Treatment of Acne
Acne treatment works by reducing oil production. Treatment of acne depends on the patient’s condition or the severity, age, and type of acne. Your dermatologist will prescribe you some medicine based on your condition.
Birth control pills are approved for acne treatment by the Food and Drug Administration. These pills are a combination of estrogen and progesterone.
Many types of medications and therapies are proven effective.
Some medications that are applied topically are:
It is an over-the-counter product. It is used as a cleanser or as a leave-on gel. Irritation is the common side effect of this gel.
It is also over-the-counter medicine used as a lotion or a cleanser. It helps in removing the dead or damaged skin. Also, it prevents clogging from dissolving dead skin cells.
It is a natural acid found in various grains that we consume, such as barley, wheat, etc. The main function of this acid is to kill microorganisms and reduce swelling.
It helps us curb clogged pore However, the common side effects of retinoids are irritation, which is usually enhanced with medications. Examples are tretinoin, adapalene etc.
Antibiotics control the bacteria due to which swelling of acne occurs. Mostly it is used with benzoyl peroxide for better results.
It is a gel with antibiotic properties used to calm inflamed acne. It is prescribed by the doctor to use it twice a day. It is especially recommended to women with acne problems.
Some medications that are taken orally are listed below:
- In addition, antibiotics such as tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline treat moderate to severe acne.
- Oral contraceptives approved by the FDA, common side effects are nausea and tenderness. In addition, these medications increase the chances of breast cancer, cardiovascular problems and cervical cancer.
- Isotretinoin is also used for treating severe acne, and it mainly shrinks the size of the oil glands so that acne formation is reduced.
Other therapies are also used, such as :
- Steroids: steroids are injected into the large modules and used to treat severe acne.
- Laser: it is primarily used for the treatment of acne scars
- Chemical peels are also used to remove blackheads and Whiteheads.
The quality of life is negatively affected by the presence of acne. Most people with acne on the face and other body parts might face the problem of depression, low self-esteem, inferiority complex, social phobia, and many other mental issues. Teenagers are more likely to give nasty comments to people facing acne issues.
People do not attend institutions or workplaces just to avoid these negative comments. They find it difficult to bond with other people because they become shy and reclusive. They lack the self-confidence to go outside and make such bonds. Successful treatment of acne decreases the symptoms of social phobia and lack of self-confidence. Hence, it improves the quality of life.