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Acne

Definition

Acne is a skin condition caused when greasy secretions from the sebaceous glands plug up the openings of the hair follicles. It is more commonly known as a pimple outbreak.. It occurs  as tiny holes over the the skin  called pores which can become blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt.

Symptoms

Depending on how severe the condition is, acne mostly erupts in the form of: it  can be found almost anywhere on your body. Mainly  on the face, shoulders, back,  chest, neck and upper arms of body

If you have acne, you’ll usually  notice pimples in the form of  white or black in appearance. Both are known as comedones. Blackheads come open at the surface of your skin, giving them a black appearance due to the effect of oxygen in the air. Whiteheads are comed close  just under the surface of your skin, giving them a white appearance.

  • Pimples
  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Small red tender bumps
  • Pus-filled lumps
  • Large solid painful lumps

Causes

Four main factors cause acne: Excess oil production Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells Bacteria Excess activity of a type of hormone (androgen)

Treatment

In most cases, over-the-counter medication such as ointments and creams help in treating acne. Apart from this, just to help clear marks and scars, the dermatologist may prescribe additional but mild medication.

At-home care

You can use a number of self-care activities at home to prevent pimples and to clear up your acne. Home remedies for acne include:

  • cleaning your skin daily with a mild soap to remove excess oil and dirt
  • shampooing your hair regularly and keeping it out of your face
  • using makeup that’s water-based or labeled as “noncomedogenic” (not pore-clogging)
  • not squeezing or picking pimples, which spreads bacteria and excess oil
  • not wearing hats or tight headbands
  • not touching your face

Medication

If self-care activities don’t help with your acne, a number of over-the-counter acne medications are available. Most of these medications contain ingredients that can help kill bacteria, open pores, or reduce oil on your skin:

  • Benzoyl peroxide is present in many acne creams and gels. It’s used for drying out existing pimples and preventing new ones. Benzoyl peroxide also kills acne-causing bacteria.
  • Sulfur is a natural ingredient with a distinctive smell that’s found in some lotions, cleansers, and masks.
  • Resorcinol is a less common ingredient that’s used to remove dead skin cells.
  • Salicylic acid is often contained in soaps and acne washes. It helps prevent pores from getting plugged.

Sometimes, you may continue to experience symptoms. If this happens, you may want to seek medical advice. Your doctor can prescribe medications that may help reduce your symptoms and prevent scarring:

  • Oral or topical antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause pimples and reduce inflammation. Typically, antibiotics are only used for a short amount of time so that your body doesn’t build up a resistance and leave you prone to infections.
  • Prescription topical creams such as retinoic acid or prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide are often stronger formulas of over-the-counter treatments. These work to reduce oil production and open pores.
  • Women with hormonal acne may be treated with birth control pills or spironolactone. These medications regulate hormones that can cause acne through a decrease in oil production.
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a vitamin-A-based medication that’s used to treat certain cases of severe nodular acne. It can cause serious side effects, and it’s only used when other treatments have failed.

Your doctor may recommend additional procedures to treat severe acne and prevent scarring. These work by removing damaged skin, reducing oil production, or opening pores:

  • Photodynamic Therapy uses a medication and a special light or laser to reduce oil production and reduce bacteria. Other lasers may be used alone to help improve acne or scarring.
  • Dermabrasion removes the top layers of your skin with a rotating brush and would be best used to treat acne scarring as opposed to a treatment for acne. Microdermabrasion is a milder treatment that helps open pores and remove dead skin cells.
  • A chemical peel essentially removes the top layers of your skin. That skin peels off to reveal less damaged skin underneath. Chemical peels also help open pores and can improve mild acne scarring.

Your doctor may suggest using cortisone injections if your acne consists of large cysts. Cortisone is a steroid naturally produced by your body. It can reduce inflammation and speed healing. Cortisone is usually used along with other acne treatments.

How can acne be prevented?

It’s difficult to prevent acne. But you can take some steps at home to help prevent acne after treatment. These steps include:

  • washing your face twice a day with an oil-free cleanser
  • using an over-the-counter acne cream to remove excess oil
  • avoiding makeup that contains oil
  • removing makeup and cleaning your skin thoroughly before bed
  • showering after exercising
  • avoiding tight-fitting clothing
  • eating a healthy diet with minimal refined sugars
  • reducing stress
Diagnosis

The diagnosis of  acne can be self-assessed or analysis, based on the symptoms given above. But if the acne persists, medical intervention is required and the doctor may run some basic tests and refer a Dermatologist.

Risk Factor

There are a number of factors that may add to developing acne such as:

  • Family history of acne: Research suggests that some individuals may have a genetic predilection for acne and develop adult acne during their lifetime
  • Contact with greasy or oily substances : :Using hair and skin care products that contain strong or irritating substances can cause adult acne. At least one of the below terms mentioned in skin and hair products are least likel

Conclusion

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask: When did you first develop this problem? Does anything in particular seem to trigger an acne flare, such as stress or in girls and women your menstrual cycle? What medications are you taking, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs as well as vitamins and supplements?

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