Everyone from teen age onwards knows about acne. Even if you are one of the lucky ones who didn’t suffer much you will know someone who did. Acne, also known as pimples, usually occur on the face but can occur on the chest and back as well. They can appear as whiteheads, blackheads, pimples or cysts (don’t have a head).
Acne usually begins in the teenage years and lasts for the duration of these years however it can persist well into adulthood.
Causes of acne
Increased production of oil (sebum) by skin cells leading to blocked hair follicles is the main cause of acne. Hormones that increase at puberty lead to a larger amount of oil. When this oil causes a blockage in a pore it is common for bacteria that is present on our skin to then multiply in the pimple. This leads to the pus-filled lump that we know as a pimple.
Prevention of acne
- Wash the face twice a day with a non-soap cleanser and water. If you have been exercising or work in a humid environment or have just been sweating a lot you may have to wash following this also.
- If non-soap cleansers don’t seem to be effective enough there are medicated cleansers that contain antibacterials, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid that are helpful.
- It is very important not to over scrub the skin or make it too dry as this leads to irritation that may increase acne formation or dryness that leads the skin to produce more oil to compensate.
- Picking, squeezing, touching the skin frequently with your hands and having hair hanging over your face are all things you should NOT Picking and squeezing increases the likelihood of scarring and touching with hands and hair increases the chance of pimple formation.
- Use oil free make-up and moisturisers to avoid clogging of pores.
- Always wash makeup off before going to bed to avoid clogging of pores overnight.
Treatment of acne
- Treatment creams and gels containing benzoyl peroxide, sulphur and salicylic acid can be applied to acne to get rid of it.
Sometimes prescription treatment from your Doctor is required to treat acne.
- Antibiotics taken orally or to be applied topically can help as they kill bacteria that is often involved in acne.
- Azelaic acid lotion kills bacteria but also helps with inflammation.
- Retinoids such as isotretinoin can be prescribed by a dermatologist for severe acne that is not responding to other treatment.
- The contraceptive pill can be helpful in those females who have flare ups of acne associated with their menstrual cycle.
Though acne is common it should be treated seriously. Those who suffer worst are usually teenagers who often feel self-conscious about their appearances anyway.