Showing the world, the real you without putting on any makeup can be difficult for many — especially if you have severe acne. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne can affect people of all age groups but is common among teenagers when the sebaceous glands activate. It appears especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms.
Acne can be persistent, however many effective treatments are available. The pimples and bumps take their own time to heal and may sometimes scar the skin. Acne may also cause emotional distress in many. The earlier you start treatment, the lower is the risk of lasting physical and emotional damage.
Facts you know about Acne
- It is the skin condition that involves the oil glands at the base of hair follicles.
- It affects three in every four people aged between 11 to 30 years.
- It is not dangerous or life-threatening, but it can leave skin scars & spots on your skin.
- Treatment depends on the severity.
- Some risk factors are genetics, menstrual cycle, anxiety, stress, hot and humid climates, using oil-based makeup, and squeezing pimples.
Symptoms of Acne
Signs and symptoms of a growing acne are as follows:-
- Whiteheads (closed clogged pores)
- Blackheads (open clogged pores)
- Small red, tender bumps
- Pimples with pus at their tips
- Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)
Does your Acne need a Doctor?
Some acne may be common and can be treated with home remedies and a bit of self-care. However, if it doesn’t help, you need to see a Doctor. Medical prescriptions at the right time can save you from spots and scars.
Some non-prescription acne lotions, cleansers, and other skin products may also cause a serious reaction. So don't confuse it with the redness, irritation or itchiness where you've applied medications or products and seek emergency medical help if you experience:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue
- The tightness of the throat
What Causes Acne?
Acne commonly occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Some major causes of acne are:-
- Excess oil production
- Dead skin cells
- Clogged Pores
- Excess activity of androgens type of hormone
Hair follicles are connected to oil glands. Thus, acne typically appears on the areas of skin having most oil (sebaceous) glands such as; face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders.
Oil glands secrete an oily substance (sebum) to lubricate hair and skin. Sebum normally travels along the hair shafts and through the openings of the hair follicles onto the surface of your skin. However, when our body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells, the two can build up in the hair follicles causing whiteheads & blackheads.
Pimples develop when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected causing raised red spots with a white center. Blockages and inflammation that develop deep inside hair follicles produce cyst-like lumps beneath the surface of your skin. Sweat glands aren't usually involved in acne.
Factors that may trigger acne
There are certain factors that can trigger or worsen an existing acne. These are:-
- Hormones: During puberty, androgens( hormones) increase in boys and girls and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also trigger hormones.
- Medications: Certain medications containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium can worsen acne.
- Diet: What you eat has a direct impact on how your internal bodily functions perform. Certain dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels, and chips may trigger acne. Eating chocolates in large amount can also worsen acne.
- Stress: Stress has never done any good and it can also make acne worse.
Myths related to Acne
There are certain beliefs or we can say myths about factors affecting acne. However, these factors have a very little effect on acne.
- Oily food: Eating greasy or oily food has little to no effect on acne. Though working in a greasy area, like kitchen can block the hair follicles with oil. This further promotes acne.
- Hygiene: Acne is not caused by dirty skin, rather scrubbing the skin too hard or too often may irritate the skin and can make acne worse.
- Cosmetics: Right cosmetics for your skin does not affect acne, especially if you use oil-free makeup that doesn't clog pores (non-comedogenics) and remove makeup regularly. Non-oily cosmetics don't interfere with the effectiveness of acne drugs.
Risk Factors for Acne
There are several factors that may be responsible for acne in many, these risk factors are as follows:-
- Hormonal changes: Changes in hormones are common in teenagers, pregnant women, and girls. People using certain medications, including those containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium may also experience acne.
- Genetics: Family history may play a major role in acne. If both parents had acne, you're likely to develop it, too.
- Greasy Atmosphere: Acne can develop when your skin comes in contact with the oily or greasy atmosphere in a work area, such as a kitchen with fry vats.
- Friction or pressure on your skin: Our skin needs gentle care and when it undergoes friction which can be caused by items such as telephones, cell phones, helmets, tight collars, and backpacks, it may develop acne.
People taking medication or other treatments for acne may need to continue their medication even after the acne improves. You might need to use a topical medication on acne-prone areas, continue taking oral contraceptives or attend ongoing light therapy sessions to keep your skin clear.
We have some acne prevention tips for you that might help to reduce the chances of acne.
- Wash your face or other acne-prone areas only twice a day. Too much washing can irritate the skin. Wash affected areas with a gentle cleanser and use oil-free, water-based products.
- Use an over-the-counter acne cream or gel to help dry excess oil. Products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as the active ingredient may be helpful.
- Removing your makeup before going sleep is a must do as it can clog your pores. Also, do not use expired makeups. Keep your cosmetic brushes and applicators clean.
- Wear breathy clothes. Clothes with no breathing space can trap heat and moisture and can irritate your skin.
- Shower after heavy workouts as oil and sweat on your skin can lead to breakouts.
- Avoid touching your face. Also, do not pick at the problem areas. Doing so can trigger more acne.
If your acne is not responding to self-care and over-the-counter treatments, you must see a doctor. Your doctor will effectively examine the skin condition and give you further advice and medication on it. Treating your acne at the right time can reduce the risk of scarring and of lasting damage to your self-esteem.