Acne: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Acne is a very common skin disease as everyone gets it at some point in life. It occurs when pores of the skin or hair follicles block with skin oil, bacteria, or dead skin cells and cause pimples, oily skin, blackheads or whiteheads mostly on the face, chest, neck, shoulders and the back. It mainly occurs in teenagers or adults because of puberty in which sex hormone androgen increases in the body.
Symptoms of Acne
It can be mild (clogged pores), moderate (inflammatory pimples), or severe (cysts and nodules). Depending upon the severity of the condition, the symptoms include:
- Clogged pores i.e. blackheads and whiteheads.
- Small red and tender bumps i.e. papules
- Pustules on the skin, often filled with pus at the tip
- Larger and painful bumps (nodules)
- Painful lumps filled with pus (cysts)
Causes of Acne
The several factors that cause acne include:
- Excess oil production: The sebaceous (oil) glands produce too much oil that creates oily skin and causes acne.
- Hormones: Androgen is a male sex hormone, produced in large quantity during puberty, and produces excess oil than normal in the skin.
- Heredity: Family history is also a factor to cause acne.
- Hair follicles blocked with oil and dead skin cells: If the size of follicle walls increases, it produces whiteheads. Open pores can darken the skin and cause blackheads.
- Bacteria: When exposed to air, the open pores of the skin are clogged with bacteria and oil that cause inflammation inside follicles.
- Stress: Stress doesn’t cause it but can make it worse
It is not a serious disease, but severe or frequent acne can affect self-esteem or may lead to permanent scarring.
The methods to diagnose acne include:
- Self-check: This is the primary method to check mild acne and can be treated at home. No medical consultation is required.
- Examination of skin: If anyone has the symptoms of acne then the healthcare professionals or dermatologists can make the diagnosis by examination of the skin.
Affected individuals with acne may not completely eradicate their acne, but the right care can prevent its occurrence. Following methods can prevent it as well as reduce their severity:
- Wash face properly to remove dirt and excessive oil.
- Do not touch and squeeze the pimples
- Use nutritious food in a diet to keep the skin healthy
- Avoid exposure to sun, dirt, and oil
- Use sunscreen to protect skin from the sun
- Stay hydrated which prevent excessive oil secretion from the skin
- Reduce stress by meditation, yoga, and massage, which regulate the oil-stimulating hormones.
The methods used to treat acne include:
- Medications: Topical agents such as tretinoin, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide are used to reduce the oil production made by skin glands. Oral and topical antibiotics like tetracycline, doxycycline, and erythromycin stop the growth of the bacteria that causes acne.
- Therapies: Many therapies are used for the treatment
- Photodynamic therapy uses drugs and laser light to reduce bacteria and oil production.
- Dermabrasion: helps to remove the top layer of the skin by laser and treat acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.
- Chemical peel: A chemical solution such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid is used to peel off the top layer of the skin that improves the mild scars and produces new skin.
- Over-the-counter medications: Face wash, soaps, and cleansers are helpful to treat acne without prescription.
- Home remedies: Common remedies like lemon juice on pimples, honey, apple cider vinegar toner, turmeric treatment etc. are used to treat it at home.