Acne: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Acne!! When we think about acne, we imagine a face with pimples, dirty blackheads and whiteheads with reddish skin. It’s a major concern for teenagers nowadays, especially girls and women. Acne is very common during adolescence and puberty.

Almost every teen face this issue once in their puberty time. However, acne is seen in adults too with age group of 20 to 30s. Here I am talking about acne in women and girls are very common that does not mean that men don’t suffer from it. They are equally unbearable for men.

What is acne?

Acne (also known as acne vulgaris) is a condition of skin inflammation that occurs when your skin pores are blocked by oil, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria. Common forms of acne are whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and blemishes.Though acne is common during puberty, it affects adults too.

It affects areas with high oil glands, primarily to your face, back, shoulder areas and upper part of chest.It also occurs due to hormonal imbalance. However, exact cause of occurrence is still unknown.

Acne commonly occurs in teenagers during their puberty periods, when hormonal changes are very common. Around 80% to 90% of teenagers face this problem in their adolescence. Adults, also face acne due to changes in lifestyle or hormonal changes due to stress or anxiety.

Acne Types

Acne can be classified as mild,moderate and severe types.

  • Mild acne are comedones (clogged skin pores) normally occurs on face, such as blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Moderate acne is papule (Solid elevation of skin with no visible fluid) and pustules (Pimple with bump containing pus, white or red).
  • The severe acne example is cysts (nodules, painful bumps lying under skin with pus, boils).

What causes acne?

There is no definite answer to causes of acne. Many factors like hormonal changes, lifestyle or environment changes can cause acne.  At the time of puberty in teenagers, level of the hormone testosterone changes. Human skin naturally produces sebum (oil) to protect the skin.

Due to hormonal changes during adolescence,Sebaceous (oil) glands grow and produce more sebum that promotes hair follicles blockage. And that combined with dead skin and bacteria results in acne. It forms acne lesions like whiteheads and blackheads (plugged pores), pimples (Sometimes with pus, red or white), and cysts (very pain full bumps under skin with pus).

Many factors lead to acne:

  • Depression, stress or anxiety
  • Hormonal changes, due to teenage, lifestyle changes or weather changes (I personally suffer from seasonal changes acne.)
  • Oil-based cosmetics
  • Some medications
  • Menstruation, pregnancy or menopause
  • Physical irritations from clothes

Acne prevention and treatment

What prevents acne?

You all know how stubborn acne is. It’s really hard to prevent acne, but there are some tips to prevent acne that may helpful to you to get rid of that “scary pimples”:

  1. Keep your face clean as much as possible. Wash your face often to keep it free from oil, dirt and bacteria. Use oil-free skin products only.
  2. Protect your skin from sun exposure. Always carry a sun protection with you. In winter, keep your skin moisturized as some people face acne due to dry skin in cold weather too. Check my winter skin care tips. I am personally facing mild acne in winter.
  3. Don’t even dare to touch or squeeze pimples. If you squeeze them, bacteria will be spread and spots will be left on the skin for few days or say months.And that is too scary, right?
  4. Ladies, please use oil-free makeups only!
  5. Wear washed clothes daily to prevent skin irritations.
  6. Remember to clean yourself after sweating.
  7. Food habits and acne does not relate to each other, but for some people acne get worse due to some oily and spicy foods. So, if this is the case with you then stop having such foods.
  8. Make sure you wash your hair properly, at least twice a week. Avoid too much oil to your hair, as if that oil will be on your face, then it will be problem for you.
  9. Avoid common habit of constantly touching your face. This will just spread bacteria to your face.
  10. You know that stress or depression also causes acne. So, make exercise as your routine. Exercise or mild yoga helps your skin to glow. And make sure you get shower after it.

These all tips are helpful in every type of acne, but their result may varies. As mild acne are easier to prevent, moderates are little bit hard and severe acne are more complicated to prevent.

You can take help of doctor or any proved acne prevent product.

Acne treatment

Everyone face acne once, earlier or later. When acne become worst with bumps and pus or leave the spots with mild acne, then know that it is time for treatment.  Acne treatment is depends on the type of acne you have, whether acne is mild, moderate or severe type.

Mild Acne Treatment

OTC medication Known as over-the-counter medications, are available only for prescribed valid consumers. These OTC products such as cleansers, lotions, soaps, creams or gels can be options to your topical acne treatment.

Does your skin is oily? No worries. Choose astringents, pads, gels, lotions and foaming cleansers. If skin type is normal to dry then choose alcohol-free lotions, creams, toners and also non-foaming cleansers.

Find the active ingredients of OTC:

  • Benzoyl peroxide: when applied to skin, reduce acne-causing bacteria, clear pores blockage, shed dead skin cells. Useful for the treatment of mild to moderate acne.
  • Resorcinol: antiseptic topical pharmaceutical product, that breaks down rough and hard skin. Fight with skin infection; remove dead skin cells, helps in treating blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Sulfur:
  • Salicylic acid: dry out surface of the skin to absorb excess sebum to prevent acne production. Unclog skin pores.

Use OTC product only with doctor’s prescription. This may cause normal side effects initially but when used to, it will not affect. Still, go with prescribed usage only!

Moderate to Severe Acne Treatment

Consult a doctor or a skin specialist for this type of acne. They may give you high prescription of OTC medications or any oral antibiotic.

  • A corticosteroid medication is the medication to inject diluted corticosteroid to treat inflamed cyst and scarring.
  • Oral antibiotic pills (tetracycline, doxycycline, erythromycin) to reduce inflammation and bacteria.
  • Topical antimicrobials unclog skin pores and reduce production of whiteheads and blackheads.
  • Isotretinoin is a strong oral retinoid, used to treat severe acne types such as cyst. As it has potential serious side effects, it’s only used when other treatments failed.

Make sure you consult a doctor or skin specialist before using any above treatment types.

I know acne is a painful life threatening condition that makes you suffer emotionally. When acne appears on your face, you may lose your self confidence. However, with prevention and prescribed treatment with guidance of doctor or skin specialist, it’s possible to fight acne.

If you’re stressed, you get pimples with wrinkles. So just smile and get dimples!