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What is Acne (Pimples)?
Acne is the eighth most prevalent health condition worldwide. Its a disorder that affects the skin’s oil producing glands i.e. sebaceous glands. The small openings in your skin (pores) connect to oil glands under the skin. These glands make an oily substance called sebum. Inside the gland, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. Sometimes this sebum, skin cells and fine hair clump together into a plug. The bacterial infection in the plug cause swelling and redness. Then when the plug starts to break down, a pimple grows. Most pimples are found on the face, neck, upper back, upper chest, and shoulder area.
Acne is usually not a serious health threat, but it can cause scars and low self esteem. Anyone can get acne, although it’s most common in teens. Adult onset acne is now very common because of modern lifestyle, food pattern, pollution and stress related hormonal changes in body. Active acne can be disfiguring. In its aftermath, the acne prone area may be left scarred and person may be psychologically scarred.
What are the types of acne?
Acne can manifest in different forms:
- Comedones (blackheads, whiteheads)
Comedones are basically collection of sebum inside skin because of clogged gland openings. if sebum collects below skin we call it whiteheads in common language. If the sebum becomes exposed to air, it gets oxidised and forms blackhead. That simply means blackheads are not the result of dirt as is commonly thought. Medicines given for acne take care of these comedones too.
- Papules, Pustules (red bumps, pus filled bumps)
Papules are small solid bumps. They can be pink and tender. Pustules are similar bumps full of pus. They are result of inflammation at the sebaceous gland and infection happening in the collected material.
- Nodules, Cysts (deep seated bumps)
These are larger bumps embedded deep inside the skin. Often very painful, can be pus filled. They can leave dark marks and puckered scars after healing.
Scars can be in the form of flat brown or black marks. Sometimes they appear as depressions of various forms (pits). Occasionally raised firm scars are also seen which are confused with popular acne itself.
Why I get acne?And not someone else?
Pimples/ Acne is a multifactorial problem. Only one reason is not sufficient to cause it. Combination of several factors predisposes a person to get acne eruptions. Some key factors are as below.
- Genetic predisposition and family tendency
- Oil, moisturizer, creams, Concealer,greasy product application
- Certain medicines intake
- Food habits like eating too oily, sweet food, simple carbohydrates like maida based food
- Climate with heat n humidity
- Hormonal imbalance PCOD, SAHA, HAIR-AN
- Physical and Mental Stress
The key is prevention and early intervention through the help of a skin specialist. A variety of topical creams to be applied directly to the skin may suffice for mild acne. More aggressive and recurrent acne however, may require systemic medications such as antibiotics or isotretinoin. Medications can be combined with regular treatments of phototherapy, cryotherapy, peeling therapy or laser therapy as per need. Know more
What are the treatments available for Acne scars?
Once acne scarring has occurred, a variety of skin resurfacing techniques like Dermaroller, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, Fractional Lasers, Microneedlimg Radiofrequency ; can be used to improve the appearance of the damaged skin. Know more
What I can do at Home apart from taking Acne treatment from Qualified Dermatologist?
Doing less is better. Try not to try every home remedy that you read in newspapers, internet etc. Remember that many patients tend to worsen the condition by choosing wrong products for skin. Always take opinion of your dermatologist before trying any home remedy.
- Do not pick any acne. Do not scrub the area in order to take out the blackheads and whiteheads
- Plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables in diet is important
- Good sleep for 6-8 hours at night in proper hours plays important part in stress reduction
- Avoid physical and mental stress. Some distressing activity, Light exercise, Yoga shall help
- Wash face with soap free cleanser 2-3 times a day. Avoid using harsh cleansers that make skin excessively dry
- No scrubbing/ vigorous massages for the skin
- Use water or gel based products and makeup. Say no to creams, oily moisturizers
- Clean mobiles regularly. Bacteria on mobiles are easily transferable to the skin adding in infection