Acne is an inflammatory condition that affects the sebaceous (oil) glands and hair follicles located in the skin. It is a common skin problem in which hair, sebum (an oily fluid), germs, and dead skin cells block the pores of your skin. These blockages cause blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, and various pimples. The eruptions typically affect the face but can also affect the back, chest, and shoulders.
There are various types of acne. Some have been described below:
- Blackheads are open skin lumps that collect extra oil and dead skin. The black patches, which mimic dirt deposits, are generated by an uneven light reflection off the obstructed follicle.
- Whiteheads: Bumpy areas that are kept closed by skin debris and oil.
- Papules: Tiny pimples that are red or pink and swell up.
- Pustules are pus-filled pimples: They appear as red rings encircling whiteheads. If they are picked or scratched, they may leave scars.
- Pityrosporum folliculitis: Often known as fungal acne, is brought on by an overgrowth of yeast in the hair follicles. They could become swollen and itchy.
- Nodules: Firm zits buried deep beneath the skin. They are painful and significant.
Androgen hormones, which generally become active during adolescence and young adulthood, are a major hormonal factor in acne. Acne can be caused by sensitivity to these hormones, surface skin microorganisms, and fatty acids within oil glands.
Acne can be caused by or made worse by certain factors:
- Hormone levels change around a woman's cycle.
- Picking at an acne scar.
- Wearables like hats, sports helmets, and clothing can clog the pores.
- Pollution in the air and specific meteorological conditions, particularly excessive humidity.
- Using fatty or oily personal care products, such as thick creams, lotions, or waxes, or working in an environment where you frequently come into touch with grease (such as working at a restaurant where there are greasy food surfaces and frying oil).
- Stress, which raises cortisol levels, can also make acne worse.
- Some medicines.
Discuss treatment choices and management strategies with your dermatologist. Some commonly available treatments for acne are:
- Locally applied Medications: Examples of some of the over-the-counter products are:
- Benzoyl peroxide: It targets the surface area that makes acne worse
- Salicylic acid: It aids in removing the outermost layer of damaged skin to keep your hair follicles clear
- Azelaic acid: It reduces swelling while also removing skin-surface bacteria.
- Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) unclog pores and dissolve black and whiteheads.
- Antibiotics regulate the surface microorganisms that exacerbate acne and frequently promote its swelling.
- Oral Medications: Moderate to severe acne is typically treated with antibiotics like tetracycline, minocycline and doxycycline. Breakouts caused by menstrual cycles can be treated with oral contraceptives. For the most severe forms of acne, an oral retinoid is recommended. It decreases Oil gland size which contributes to acne development.
- Cosmetic Procedures: There are many cosmetic procedures to choose from. You and your dermatologist will discuss the best options for your acne. Some commonly available cosmetic treatments include Chemical peeling, Dermabrasion, Laser resurfacing, Steroid injections, dermal fillers, micro-needling, cryosurgery, etc.