All you need to know about Acne
Acne is the most common skin disorder and is characterized by inflammation and skin eruptions due to strong outflows of the semi-fluid sebum, which is secreted by the sebaceous glands. Increased flow of sebum clogs the pores on the skin causing swelling, and can even injure the sebum canals.
Causes of acne
Hormones Acne has been linked with production of hormones, in particular the androgens. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce sebum .Androgens are produced by the testes in men and by the ovaries in women. In both sexes, the hormones are also produced by the adrenal glands. During puberty, production of the hormones tends to increase in both boys and girls causing the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum.
Activity of normal skin bacteria
Although acne is not caused by a bacterial infection, bacteria do play a role in making the condition worse. The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), is a normal part of the skin surface. It prevents the skin from being invaded by harmful bacteria. When oil is trapped in the hair follicles, the normal skin bacteria P. acnes will grow in the blocked pore. The bacteria produce chemicals that alter the composition of the oil, which makes it more irritating to the skin and causes inflammation.
Blockage of the skin pores
Oily skin occurs when an over active sebaceous gland enlarges and overproduces oil. Acne develops when some of the skin pores (through which oil normally flows from the sebaceous glands to reach the skin surface) become blocked, resulting in trapping of oil within the skin pores. The pores are blocked by skin cells that have been shed from the lining of the skin pore and have bunched together. While the cause for this clogging remains unknown, it is not a result of poor hygiene. A blackhead or whitehead will develop from this skin pore blockage.
Though many people think of acne as a bacterial disease, it’s primarily an inflammatory problem. According to many researchers, inflammation in the skin is actually the trigger that kicks off the whole process. Studies have shown that inflammation is present in the very earliest stages of a pimple, even before bacterial infection of the skin pore. Inflammation of the skin occurs because the body’s immune system is acting to rid itself of a foreign substance. In the case of acne, this substance is either bacteria or the irritating compounds they have produced. Inflamed skin is characterized by redness, swelling, warmth and discomfort.
Physical symptoms of acne
Common symptoms associated with acne include blackheads, white heads, nodules, pimples, skin scarring, cysts, pustules, pustules and dry, pink and itchy skin.
There are various treatment options for acne including self help techniques, over-the-counter creams or gels and hormonal therapies. The effectiveness of each treatment depends with the severity of the condition.
There are various self-help techniques that can help acne. They include:
- Do not wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day. Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse.
- Wash the affected area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse.
- Regular exercise cannot improve your acne but it can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem.
- Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising as sweat can irritate your acne.
- Regularly wash your hair and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.
Antibiotic tablets (oral antibiotics) are usually used in combination with a topical treatment to treat more severe acne. In most cases, a class of antibiotics called tetracycline is prescribed, unless one is pregnant or breastfeeding.
Hormonal therapies can often benefit women with acne, especially if their acne is associated with hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome. One common hormonal treatment is Co-cyprindiol.
There are several treatments for acne does not involve medication. these treatments include:
- Chemical peels – where a chemical solution is applied to the face, causing the skin to peel off and new skin to replace it.
- Comedone extractor – A small pen-shaped instrument that can be used to clean out blackheads and whiteheads.
- Photodynamic therapy – where light is applied to the skin in an attempt to improve symptoms of acne.
However, there’s only limited evidence to support these types of treatment for acne.
Laser and light therapy
Laser therapy reaches the deeper layers of skin without harming the skin’s surface. Laser treatment is thought to damage the oil (sebaceous) glands, causing them to produce less oil. Light therapy targets the bacteria that cause acne inflammation. These therapies can also improve skin texture and lessen the appearance of scars.
The best thing is to be happy, avoid stress, drink lot of water and good sleep. Use less chemicals and make-ups if you are prone to such skin issue and a feeling that you are the prettiest :).