What is Acne?

Acne, commonly known as pimples, is a skin condition that develops when the skin pores are blocked. The skin has small opening or pores that are connected oil glands. These oil glands secrete a substance called as sebum. The skin pores and oil glands are connected through a canal called follicle. Follicles have thin hair that grows out to the skin. The sebum collects the dead skin cell through the follicle to the surface of the skin. When these follicles get clogged up, pimples are formed resulting in oil build up. The sebum, hair and skin cells cluster together into a plug causing bacterial infection and results in swelling. The most common area where pimples develop is on the face, neck, shoulders and chest. If left untreated acne can cause scar in skin cells.

Causes of Acne

The main cause of acne is the rise in hormone levels called as Androgen. The androgen hormone levels rise while reaching puberty. High levels of androgen trigger the oil glands to secrete more sebum in the oil glands. When the increased sebum can cause clogs in the pores and increase the risk of bacterial infection.

Other reasons for acne include:

  • Menstruation
  • Stress
  • Cosmetics
  • Medication
  • Excess intake of oily food
  • Pollution and elevated humidity
  • Genetic cause

Lifestyle Modifications to prevent acne

There are few lifestyle modifications that are considered useful to treat and prevent acne. These include:

  • Never squeeze a pimple - picking a pimple increase the chances of infection and mark scars in the skin.
  • Cleaning and skin care – regular usage of mild cleansers and exfoliating masks helps to open the pores and remove dead skin cells.
  • Using antibacterial cleaners - helps kill bacteria with active ingredients from the cleanser
  • Using astringent or toners - removes excess oil from the skin and slows down the oil secretion.
  • Avoid excess sun exposure

When to meet a doctor

Its best to consult a dermatologist at the onset or start of acne. Expert medical help will to prevent the excessive spread of acne and scarring of the skin. Acne scars are permanent and will require scar reduction treatment. Prevention and control of Acne are the best methods.

Treatments for Acne

Treatments are decided upon the cause and severity of acne by the dermatologist.

  • Medical management – Numerous topical antibacterial and retinoid ointments are available to treat clogged pores. Oral antibiotics and cortisone injections are administered depending on the severity of acne.
  • Chemical peels - When topical acne treatments do not produce a satisfactory result, dermatologist suggests for chemical peeling. Chemical peeling is performed by applying a chemical solution to the acne affected skin.

  • Laser treatment - Laser treatment is the fastest method to remove scars and wrinkles from the acne prone skin. Focused light beams are used to remove the scarred skin from the surface. Lasers have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation of skin as well.
Authored By Dr. Harish Prasad

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