Acne: Treatment, types, prevention, and more

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Acne is a skin problem that can cause severe types of bumps to form on the surface of the skin. It commonly occurs on the face and neck, Shoulder and chest. It is caused by the accumulation of oil, dead and bacteria in the pores of skin.

Each pore of skin opens to a follicle. The follicle is made up of hair and a sebaceous gland.

The sebaceous gland releases sebum which travels up the hair out of the pore onto skin. Sebum helps keep your skin lubricated and soft.

However, this lubrication can contribute to acne if the pore gets clogged by too much of oil produced by the sebaceous gland of follicle or if dead skin gets accumulated in the pore or if there is bacteria build up in the pore.

Acne is of two main types: Comedones and inflammatory acne. Comedones are of two types: Blackheads /open comedones where 0xygen gives these pimples their dark appearance and whited heads or closed comedones which appear as raised skin bumps. Inflammatory acne is of four types and are serious infectious conditions. They are papules, pustules, nodules and cyst .They are red, swollen inflamed acne containing pus and are usually painful.

Acne breakouts can cause rough skin with uneven texture, scarring and skin discolouration .Acne is also caused in presence of certain risk factors like hormonal changes during puberty and pregnancy, PCOS and other endocrine conditions, Cigarette smoking, Poor sleep , stress, using  cleansers , creams , moisturizers and other beauty products with high oil content ; Certain medications like lithium , hormonal  birth control pills, anticonvulsant drugs , steroids also contribute to acne. Genetics or family tendency to have acne is also a contributing risk factor.

Treatment of acne depends on its severity. For mild acne over the counter medicated creams, cleansers with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid in low percentages is helpful. For moderate acne, one should seek professional treatment.

The practitioner may prescribe increased strength of benzoyl peroxide , topical antibiotics like erythromycin and clindamycin, retinoids like retinol etc. For severe acne like nodules & cysts combination of certain drugs is often prescribed by the dermatologist which includes  oral antibiotics , topical antibiotics , increased strength of benzoyl peroxide , topical retinoid, vitamin A medication.

There are certain home remedies which are very helpful for mild acne or comedones which include double cleansing, which means cleaning of face twice with foaming facial cleansers twice, applying tea tree oil, aloe vera and honey mask. One should avoid touching face and popping pimples at all costs.

According to latest studies it has been proven that diet modifications in combination with professional care has significantly reduced the incidence of acne in patients. Diets with low glycemic index like green vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, oats, multigrain bread etc can reduce the incidence of acne. Diets with high glycemic index like white rice, bread, potato, dairy products etc significantly increase the incidence of acne. There is a little evidence that chocolate is a notable factor in acne development.

Though, nutrition counselling as an adjunctive therapy can be suggested for individuals with mild to moderate acne. There are certain in- office treatments which includes, chemical peels, which slough off the upper skin layer, light therapy like intense pulsed light which uses narrow band of light to kill bacteria and target the red discolouration of active acne, microdermal-abrasion is helpful to increase skin turnover and decongest pores and small comedones.

Lasers, like aerolase, treat acne, inflammation and the marks left behind. Microneedling has shown promising results as a treatment for acne scars by promoting collagen synthesis, skin rejuvenation or resurfacing by lasers to help reduce acne scarring considerably, injectable dermal fillers are for depressed acne scars. These are particularly effective in treating ice pick and boxcar scars.

For many people who have acne, the skin disease affects more than just their appearance. Acne can take a toll on the emotional health of an individual. Researchers have found that people with acne can develop depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor self-image, decreased quality of life and a feeling of being all alone. Teenagers suffer significant distress.

Acknowledging the emotional toll because of acne is the first step of dealing with it. Acne is a frustrating condition because to try the treatment after treatment and still having acne can be agonizing.

The best thing to do when a person feels this way, though, is to stick with the treatment which works best for you. Keep in mind that it takes time for any treatment to work.

Taking care of yourself physically will help a person feel better too and can decrease stress level. Diet, exercise, medication and professional treatments go hand in hand. Parents and teachers of teenagers should be supportive in this journey.

(Dr Mehreen Riyaz Kokiloo is a Cosmetic Dentist and Medical Cosmetologist C\o Sparkle Healthcare, Bund side Kursoo, Rajbagh)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not refl ect the views of GK.

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