Acne: A very important skin condition for patients982
Most people experience acne, a common skin condition, at some point in their lives. It gives the patient blemishes, greasy skin, and hot skin to the touch.
When your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, acne is a skin disorder that develops. It results in pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. Although it can impact anyone at any age, acne is most common in teenagers.
Although there are effective treatments for acne, the condition may become severe and continue. The lumps and pimples heal slowly, and just as one starts to go, another one seems to appear.
Depending on how severe it is, acne can leave skin scars and create emotional distress. The earlier you begin therapy, the lesser your chances of developing acne.
When hair follicles, which are little openings in the skin, are clogged, acne develops.
Sebaceous glands are tiny glands that are located close to the skin's surface. The glands are linked to the hair follicles, which are tiny openings in your skin from which a single hair emerges.
To prevent drying out, sebaceous glands moisturise the skin and hair. They accomplish this by creating sebum, an oily material.
The glands start to produce too much sebum when acne is present. Dead skin cells and extra sebum combine to form a clog inside the follicle.
A whitehead develops when a blocked follicle is located just below the skin's surface.
A blackhead can also be produced if the blocked follicle is exposed to the skin.
The clogged follicles can subsequently get contaminated and infected by normally non-harmful bacteria, leading to nodules, or cysts.
Increased testosterone levels, which happen throughout puberty, are considered to be the cause of teenage acne. This hormone is crucial in preserving females' bone strength and in encouraging the development of the penis and testicles in boys.
It is believed that higher testosterone levels lead the glands to create far more sebum than what the skin requires.
Adult acne is more prevalent in women than in males. The changing hormone levels that many women experience each month are regarded to be the root cause of many adult acne problems.
These times include:
- Pregnancy - many women experience acne symptoms at this time, often during the first three months of pregnancy.
- Periods - some women experience an acne flare-up immediately before their period.
- Acne, gaining weight, and the development of tiny cysts inside the ovaries are all symptoms of the disorder polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.
Additional factors that might cause an outbreak of acne include:
- Different make-up and skincare products, however, this is unlikely as most products are tested to ensure they do not produce spots.
- Steroid treatments, lithium, and several epilepsy medications
- Smoking can increase acne in elderly individuals.
- Routinely wearing anything that put pressure on an afflicted region of skin, such as a headband or backpack
How to check if you have Acne?
Different types of spots to look out for:
- Blackheads are tiny black lumps that form on the skin. They are black because the inner lining of the hair follicle creates colour.
- Whiteheads resemble blackheads but may be stiffer and do not drain when pushed.
- Papules are small red bumps that can be painful.
- Pustules are similar to papules but have a white tip in the centre, caused by a buildup
- Nodules are large hard lumps that form beneath the skin's surface and can be painful
- Cysts are the most severe type of acne spot; they are large pus-filled lumps that resemble boils and carry bacteria.
Who it impacts?
Younger people frequently suffer from acne. Between the ages of 11 and 30, more than 90% of people have acne to some degree.
Ages 14 to 17 for females and 16 to 19 for boys are when acne is most prevalent. Most people struggle with acne intermittently for years before their symptoms start to go better as they age.
When a person is in their mid-20s, acne frequently goes away. Acne can sometimes persist until adulthood. 3% of individuals over the age of 35 have acne.
Acne risk elements include:
- Age- Aside from youth, people of all ages can develop acne.
- Changes in hormones- During puberty or pregnancy, these changes are very common
- Family history- Acne is influenced by genetics. You are more likely to get acne if both of your parents did.
- For things that are greasy or oily-wherever your skin comes into touch with oil or oil-based products, acne may form.
- Applying pressure on the skin - mobile phones, helmets, tight collars, and backpacks are a few examples of products that might contribute to this.
These are the signs to look out for:
Little, painful, red lumps known as Papules
Nodule- Large, hard, and uncomfortable bumps under the skin
Cystic Lesions-Pus-filled, agonising tumours under the skin
Acne often develops on the face, forehead, chest, and upper back.
The following factors can worsen your acne:
- Hormonal Issues- Hormones can rise throughout puberty and induce the sebaceous glands to grow and produce more sebum.
- Certain medicines- These can lead to an outbreak such as lithium-containing medications.
- Diet- According to research, eating certain meals, such as carbohydrate-rich foods may make acne worse.
- Stress- Stress might worsen your acne.
Therefore, it is important to act on the following:
- Eating a balanced diet with lots of fluid
- Staying away from harmful chemicals in skincare and beauty products
- Visit the Doctor if your acne worsens.
- Reducing stress levels and avoiding unnecessary pressure on the skin.
A doctor can identify acne by examining your skin. This entails looking for different sorts of spots, such as blackheads or painful, red nodules, on your face, chest, or back.
Where you should receive treatment and what kind of care you need will depend on how severe your acne is.
Acne severity is put into two categories such as:
Mild: primarily whiteheads and blackheads, with a few papules and pustules
Severe - several big, painful papules, pustules, nodules, or cysts; you may also have some scarring
Consult a Doctor if you have moderate or severe acne. Please contact the MedRec team if you have any concerns.
The severity of the acne will determine how it is treated. Before acne problems become better, therapy may be needed for several months.
A pharmacist should be able to provide advice on how to successfully treat mild acne such as spots with gels or cream recommendations that include benzoyl peroxide.
Medical care from a Doctor
If your acne is moderate to severe and if medications are not working, visit your doctor as you may require further advanced treatment.
The following prescription drugs can be used to treat acne:
- Cream retinoids
- Antibiotic creams
- Antibiotic pills with azelaic acid
Your doctor might recommend a dermatologist to you if you have severe acne and medications are not working. Please contact the Medrec team for specialist advice.
To treat more severe acne, antibiotic pills (oral antibiotics) are typically used with a topical remedy.
Hormonal treatments can frequently help women with acne, particularly if the acne worsens over a period of time or is linked to hormonal disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome.
Complications of Acne
Darker skin types are more prone than lighter skin types to develop these acne-related complications:
Scars- After acne has been cured, thick scars can linger for a very long time.
Skin alterations- The skin afflicted by acne may be either darker (hyperpigmented) or lighter (hypopigmented) than it was before the problem developed.
If you suffer any of the following symptoms after using a skin product to treat your acne, please contact a Doctor immediately:
Eye, facial, lip, or tongue swelling
For further information please access the following resources:
Page last reviewed: Mar 2, 2023
Next review due: Mar 2, 2025