One of the most popular concerns people come to the skin clinic with is acne. What causes it? How best to treat it? And when it will go away?
Acne is defined as any kind of breakout appearing on the skin ranging from a small blackhead, papules (red, inflamed spots) pustules, and cysts. Hormonal changes during puberty lead to acne in teenagers. You will be happy to hear that acne goes away almost completely by the time they are out of their teens. The common type of acne in teens is called acne vulgaris. It is presented on the face, shoulders, neck, upper back, and chest. The hair follicles, or pores, all over your skin contain oil or sebaceous glands.
They produce sebum that lubricates hair and skin. Usually, pores become clogged if there are too many oil dead skin cells. Bacteria liked Propionibacterium acnes can then get trapped inside the pores and multiply. This leads to inflammation and then redness and swelling- the result is acne. When a pore gets clogged up and bulges out from the skin, we call it whitehead. But a clogged pore stays and open, the top surface can darken and you're left with a blackhead. The wall of the pore opens up and allows sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells to make their way under the skin resulting in a small, red bump on the face called a pimple. Clogged pores very deep in the skin turn up into nodules. Nodules are infected lumps or cysts that are bigger than pimples and can be painful. Sometimes, large cysts that seem like acne-like boils caused by a staphylococcus infection.
One of the main factors can be oil overproduction. If the hair follicles are blocked and don't allow the produced oil to leave the pore resulting in a clogged pore.
Ask your mother and grandmother, how they faced acne? The trend is similar in the family. How your body reacts to different hormones in your body resulting in acne is mainly the role of genetics.
Another big factor can be stress. (Stress can cause hormonal fluctuations, pushing your skin's oil production into overdrive. During stress and anxiety, your skin produces the stress hormones, including cortisol, that stimulate your oil glands to make testosterone. This, in turn, increases oil production and clogs pores.
There could also be certain patterns you could be repeating on a daily basis that can cause you to break out, like diet or using the wrong products, not washing/cleansing correctly, constantly touching your skin.
To help make sense of it the more we can look at the grading system dermatologists use to know how best to Treat.
Grade- 1 is mild acne, characterized by a few blackheads, milia and some breakouts.
Grade- 2 is called acne cosmetica, usually seen as lumps and bumps under the skin. This is caused mainly by the use of cosmetic products and insufficient cleansing of the skin.
Grade- 3 is acne vulgaris. Believe it or not, this is a genetic condition and appears in the form of breakouts, pustules, and inflammation on the skin.
Grade- 4 cystic acne is also genetic and along with seeing what’s typical of acne vulgaris mentioned above, it’s likely that due to uncontrolled inflammation in the skin deep cysts and nodules (hardened sore lumps under the skin) will also appear.
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