What is Acne?
Acne is a skin disorder that causes a skin condition. It occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with fat and dead cells, causing the pores to become clogged and causing injuries; in turn, causing whiteheads (closed comedones), blackheads (open comedones), red, inflamed papules, and nodules or cysts that can develop around the body.
Most breakouts occur on the face, but also on the back, chest, shoulders, and upper arms. Acne appearances arise during adolescence and disappear by the age of 30 in many cases. There are usually people who continue with the skin complication who could suffer from it until they are 40-50 years old. Various studies reveal that 10% and 20% of people of both sexes continue to maintain these lesions until adulthood.
During youth, this disorder seriously affects body image and self-esteem. Depending on its severity, acne causes suffering and leaves the skin deformed; That is why there are effective treatments for this disease, but in many cases acne still persists, as pimples and eruptions heal slowly and others flourish. That is why the earlier you prevent this evil, the lower the long-term risk.
Types of acne?
Acne has two main types:
- Open comedones, known as blackheads, are the sticky mixture of cells and sebum that darkens on contact with air.
- Closed comedones, this mixture is sealed below the surface, forming a granite. Inflammatory acne is made up of red, raised lesions, often with a white center (known as pimples).
Depending on the predominant lesions, three types of acne can be established that correlate with their severity:
- Pre acne: It is located on the forehead, cheeks and upper chest. Oily skin is observed, with more open sebaceous holes, slight keratosis of the follicle and initial comedones. It usually lasts a few months, disappearing even without treatment, although some preteens may develop acne later.
- Grade I: Open and closed comedones predominate with some papules.
- Grade II: Superficial inflammatory lesions predominate and comedones are also present. Depending on the intensity, there are moderate forms and severe forms.
- Grade III: This is characterized by the presence of scars, cysts, abscesses, nodules, along with comedones and superficial inflammatory lesions to a greater or lesser degree.
How does acne originate?
- There are four main factors that cause acne:
- Excessive production of fatty matter (sebum).
- Hair follicles clogged by oily matter and dead skin cells.
- The bacteria.
- Skin inflammations.
Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders, because these areas of skin have the largest number of oil glands. Hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands.
The follicle wall may protrude and a whitehead may form. Or the plug may break open to the surface, darken and form a black dot. A blackhead can look like dirt embedded in the pores. But in reality, the pore is full of bacteria and oily matter, which darkens when exposed to air.
Pimples are raised red dots with a white center that appear when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected with bacteria. Inflammation and blockages deep within the hair follicles produce cyst-like bumps under the surface of the skin. There are usually no other skin pores (which are the openings of sweat glands) associated with acne.
Some factors can trigger or worsen acne:
- Hormonal changes. Androgens are hormones that increase in young people during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum.
- Hormonal changes during middle age, especially in women, can also cause breakouts.
- Certain medications. Examples include medications that contain corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium.
- Stress. Stress doesn’t cause acne, but if you already have it, it can make it worse.
- Genetic. They may have a family history of skin problems, from which one may suffer; there is a greater tendency for the children themselves to inherit this evil.
- Certain clothing. Some of the garments could generate pimples, product of the texture of the item that generates irritation; on the other hand, there are accessories, for example, helmets that exert pressure either on the rest or on the head, neck, and in some cases, the back.
- Personal hygiene.
What sequels does acne leave?
Grade I or mild acne does not usually leave scars; however, squeezing pimples or trying to open them increases inflammation and depth of injury, making scarring more likely. The cysts and abscesses of severe acne often rupture and, after healing, usually leave scars. The scars can be tiny, deep holes (ice pick scars), wider marks of varying depth, or large irregular indentations. Acne scars last a lifetime and in some cases are a source of emotional problems. The scars may be dark.
Those affected by grade II or moderate acne have more blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and pustules.
People with grade III or severe acne have a large number of whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules, or cystic (deep) acne. In cystic acne, cysts are large, red, painful, pus-filled nodules that can coalesce under the skin to form larger, oozing abscesses. These present more serious damage such as acne conglobata, which is the most severe form of acne and causes significant scarring and other complications from abscesses. This acne can appear on the arms, abdomen, buttocks, and even the scalp. On the other hand, acne fulminans and pyoderma facialis (also called rosacea fulminans) are two possibly related and rare types of severe acne that often develop suddenly.
NOTE: It is advisable to follow the advice of an expert when choosing the most appropriate treatment, as it depends on each individual and their clinical history.
How to cure acne?
It is necessary to remember that acne is generated by obstructions of the skin and by hormonal causes. Most dermatologists recommend that you need to carefully wash your face in the morning and at night. An oily skin must be cleaned with a special soap and allows to use a toner. On the other hand, a person with dry skin has to cleanse daily with a cleansing milk, “never a tonic or soap,” the specialists emphasize, as it can aggravate the situation. Micellar water can be used on all skin types.
The treatment will depend on the type of injuries, so it can be used from a topical treatment to another orally depending on the intensity of the wounds. It is necessary to go to the dermatologist to assess whether the acne is related to a hormonal disease and thus make it possible for the treatments to be really effective and avoid the formation of scars. There are also specialized skin creams, as well as acne-prone spray toners, containing ingredients like salicylic acid, that you can buy at the pharmacy that are not just for use on the face, but for all areas where acne breaks out.
You have to be realistic, results often take weeks rather than hours, and regularity is key to eradicating acne from your skin. However, only 30-50% of patients tend to stick to their scheduled treatment: They start out with the best of intentions, but then lose hope when things don’t change overnight. And that’s how acne always gets the upper hand.
Keep in mind that neither food nor stress itself causes acne. However, it is closely related to being overweight. In general, an overweight/obese person with acne who decides to lose weight will notice that their lesions will improve.
NOTE: If you have problems, consult your GP or dermatologist.