Do you struggle with acne and wish you understood it better? What causes it? Is all acne the same?
Acne typically appears on the face but more than half of the population suffers from acne on the back while approximately 15% of people suffer from acne on their chest as well. There are multiple types of acne that range from small outbreaks such as blackheads and whiteheads to more severe and painful outbreaks known as papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.
Acne results when the sebaceous glands, where hair follicles are attached, become clogged with dirt and bacteria which commonly resides on the skin and excess sebum (oily excretion of the sebaceous gland) form a blockage of the small gland. Bacteria, typically harmless, survives on the skin and when exposed to a clogged gland create an infected area that if left unattended will result in larger more painful infections. These types of acne require medical assistance to heal the infection and treat the exposed skin to help prevent scarring.
Throughout our lives we are more prone to acne breakouts during time of increased hormone levels such as puberty, pregnancy or conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Stress may be another source of acne. There is no solid research to support this claim however, studies have determined a trend in the increase of acne when someone with active outbreaks experiences an increase in stress hormones produced by the body.
Additional causes of acne flare-ups may include certain medications such as steroids as well as anti-epileptic medications. Steady use of items such as headbands, ball caps or backpacks can cause outbreaks in areas that come into regular contact with the skin.
There are many myths about acne that persist. Myths that are widely perpetuated about the cause of acne are centered around poor diet, poor hygiene. Myths related to improving acne outbreaks are that if you squeeze the blackheads or whiteheads they will disappear however the truth is that this could actually cause the problem to persist or even get worse leaving scars. Sunbathing, sunbeds and sunlamps are also believed to help improve acne outbreaks however there is no evidence that this is the case. It is more likely that exposure to the sun or UV rays will cause damage to your skin with no impact on your acne. Medications dispensed to treat acne are likely to make your skin light sensitive and cause damage to your skin that could be painful as well as put you at risk for skin cancer.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, especially in the UK. Although it is a common skin issue that people face, there is no specific information about the causes of acne. This leads to some myths being circulated about acne – one of which is that you should let acne run its due course and your skin will improve on its own. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way and it may lead to permanent scars or dark spots on your skin when acne clears. So, it is always helpful to consult a dermatologist to get the best acne treatment in London or in any part of the world.
What are the symptoms of acne?
Acne can be found on any of your body parts and the most common parts where it usually develops is neck, face, arms, legs, and shoulders. So, if you notice either white or black pimples on any of these body parts, you possibly have acne. These white and black pimples are known as comedones in medical terminology. Blackheads are black in colour because they open at the surface of your skin and upon getting in contact with oxygen and melanin (surface colour pigment), the pimple looks black in colour. On the other hand, the whiteheads are the closed ones, located just below the surface of your skin and hence, are white in colour.
Face is one of the most common area affected by acne
Some of the other symptoms of acne include –
If you have any or all of these, you should get in touch with a dermatologist to get your acne treated professionally.
We had a look at the symptoms of acne, but what are the causes of acne? Let’s have a look.
Causes of acne
Acne usually develops on your body parts when a pore is clogged with oil, dead skin cells or even bacteria. Normally what happens is that the dead skin cells slowly rise to the skin surface through the pores and the body shed it out of the body. In a person having acne, the body starts producing a large amount of sebum that makes the dead skin cells stick inside the pores and thus, the dead cells are trapped.
The trapped dead cells thus, give rise to acne in the form of whiteheads or blackheads. One of the other causes of acne is the skin surface bacteria, p.acnes, which gets inside the surface of the skin and reaches the pore. The bacteria find the pore a perfect breeding ground where it multiplies quickly and thus, develops acne. In this case, the pore becomes inflamed – red and swollen.
So, as we have discussed so far, there can be some causes of acne and this is precisely the reason it is always the best solution to consult a dermatologist near you for ideal treatment. Getting treated by an expert ensures that there are no black spots or acne marks left post-treatment. And HP Dermatology Centre specialists offer just that. So, get in touch with us and get free personalised advice today.
Most of the people develop mild acne, and that can be easily treated with over the counter medications. However, if you are facing acne that is more severe, then reaching out to a dermatologist would be the best idea you have. This is because; you might end up aggravating your problem than lowering it if you follow any other advice. Also, leaving the acne run its course could leave permanent acne scars or dark spots on the skin area. Therefore, it is always a good option to consult a dermatologist to ensure proper treatment.
Depending on your acne condition, a dermatologist may suggest an oral or topical antibiotic. Antibiotics are known to control bacterial growth and hence, reduce inflammation. Let’s have a look at five acne treatment methods dermatologists use to treat acne –
Intralesional Corticosteroid Injection
If the acne cyst is badly inflamed, there is quite a possibility that it might rupture – leading to scarring on the skin surface. Therefore, to deal with this acne condition, dermatologists usually give a diluted corticosteroid injection to prevent scarring. The injection will boost healing and reduce the inflammation of the cyst. Therefore, this is one of the most effective ways of acne treatment.
Oral antibiotics are also used by the dermatologists quite often, especially when the cause of acne is p.acnes bacteria. In such a scenario, your dermatologist might prescribe oral antibiotics so that the bacterial growth in controlled and hence, your acne is treated. Although the initial does of oral antibiotics might be high, it gradually comes down with decreasing acne condition.
A majority of women say that taking an oral contraceptive treats their acne quite well. The oral contraceptives work best for some women in controlling the overactive sebum. This is the reason some dermatologists prescribe oral contraceptives as a long-term acne treatment for women. However, care should be taken that only women who have no record of blood-clotting, is a non-smoker and doesn’t have a migraine condition can use this method to treat acne.
Isotretinoin is a powerful oral retinoid that is used for treating a severe case of cystic acne. However, dermatologists all over the world also use this method if none of the methods or medications is working in the acne treatment. Isotretinoin is a so powerful medication that just a single course of treatment can treat acne completely, for almost 90% people. The course of treatment runs for about 4-5 months, and your dermatologist might tailor it to suit your condition.
The function of this medicine is quite similar to the oral antibiotics we discussed earlier – to control the growth of p.acnes bacteria in your body. Topical antimicrobials are derived from Vitamin A and hence, are an ideal source of acne treatment. The topical antimicrobials work well in reducing the clogging of pores and at the same time, also reduce the growth of p.acnes bacteria in your body.
Therefore, these are some of the acne treatment methods and medications a dermatologist may use to treat your acne, depending on your acne condition and some other factors. But one thing is for sure – getting your acne treated in its early formative stage is the best (and easy) thing to do. To know more about your acne, you may get in touch with one of our HP Dermatology Centre specialists and a get personalised advice about your skin condition today!