Acne is a condition that occurs generally due to inflammation or infection in the skin. It is most commonly characterized by red pimples, blackheads or whiteheads, oily skin and possible scarring on face but can also occur on other areas including upper chest and back. The acne lesions affect individual’s appearance and lead to reduced self-esteem, anxiety and even depression or suicidal thoughts in extreme cases.
Causes Of Acne
When sebum is in excess, it clogs the hair follicles’ openings, particularly those present on face, neck, chest and back. In these clogged follicles, bacteria grows. And this leads to formation of blackheads or whiteheads on the surface of skin. This clogging sometimes causes follicle wall to break because of pressure resulting from this buildup. And when this occurs, sebum gets leaks into adjacent tissues and inflammatory acne is formed.
Acne begins in teenagers when there is an increased hormone production. At the time of puberty, both boys and girls produce high levels of androgens (male sex hormone including testosterone). Testosterone signals body to produce more sebum (oil produced in oil glands of skin).
For 80% cases, genetics is considered as the primary cause of acne. Acne susceptibility is perhaps due to influence of multiple genes since it doesn’t follow a single inheritance pattern.
Depending on the severity of condition, signs and symptoms of acne differ:
- Red swelling or small lumps that are filled with pus (papules or pustules)
- Dark spots with open pores (blackheads)
- White spots without any openings (whiteheads)
- Large, solid, painful lumps under the skin (nodules)
- Persistent, recurrent red spots or swelling
How To Prevent Acne?
Keeping Face Clean
You have acne problem or not, it’s important to wash your face twice a day to get rid of dead cells, impurities and extra oil on skin’s surface. But don’t overdo it as it may cause harm. For washing the face, use warm (and not hot) water and mild facial cleanser. Wash it gently using a soft cloth or hands. And use clean cloth to dry your face.
Keeping Away From Sun
The UV rays of sun can aggravate problem of inflammation and redness, and can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark discoloration). Especially, avoid sun during 10 AM to 2 PM and wear protective clothing.
Not Using Too Much Makeup
At the time of acne breakout, limit your use of makeup. And even if you do, wash it off well at the end of the day. Choose oil-free cosmetics (without added dyes and chemicals) and those labelled as “non comedogenic”.
Being Careful About What You Eat
Most of the experts agree that some foods like chocolate do not cause acne. But it’s always better to avoid greasy and junk foods. You should rather have more of fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Processed sugar and dairy products should also be avoided.
Regular exercise is beneficial for whole body including skin. While exercising, avoid exercising equipment that causes skin irritation. Always take a bath after exercising.
Herbal, Organic & Natural Medications
Use raw honey as a supplemental face wash or face mask few times a week. You can also try deep cleansing healing clay mud mask once or twice a week. Other natural remedies or medications include good quality probiotics, gelatin, fat soluble vitamins.
A lot of cleansers are available in the market that claim to treat acne.They usually contain sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and glycolic acid.
Soap & Water
Cleaning your face not more than twice a day helps in acne.
Alcohol & Acetone
As alcohol is a mild-bacterial agent and acetone helps in removal of oils from skin’s surface, they are combined in some over-the-counter drugs.
Summing It Up
Acne is not an acute disease and it usually occurs during adulthood or teenage years. But if this condition persists, one should consult a skin specialist and take the medications accordingly for effective results.