What is Acne?
Acne is one of the common medical problems that have been faced by most of the teenagers, especially women. As youngsters reach the puberty level, the hormonal changes take place and that sometimes causes acne. The sebaceous glands present in the hair follicle start to secrete oil or grease that in turn produces sebum, a solid white substance. Sebum keeps the skin supple and smooth. When skin cells in the follicle shed, they mix with the sebum and block the follicle. As more and more sebum gathers, it swells out on the skin and creates an ideal environment for the propionibacterium acnes (P acnes) bacteria.
This bacteria present in the skin multiply in the clotted follicle and causes inflammation. This inflammation gives rise to blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and pimples. Acnes are likely to appear on face, chest and back. People often trivialize acne problems, but people who have acnes on the face may feel more self-conscious, low self-confidence, low self-esteem and depressed. The visible spots are very irritating for the people who want to look good for social occasions.
What Causes Acne?
According to popular belief, acnes are caused by unhealthy diet and hormone imbalances. Sometimes acnes are inherited by the parents. During puberty, when the oil producing glands are more active compared to the rise in hormonal level, acnes are likely to occur.
Acne occurs in two structures.
1) The pore through which the hair comes out – here, the stickiness of dead skin cells partially blocks the pore.
2) The secretion of oil in sebaceous glands – the more oil it produces, the oilier the skin gets. When pores are partially blocked, it limits the flow of the oil to the skin.
The oil keeps gathering and starts to solidify giving rise to a blackhead. The black color of the blackhead is not because of the dirt, but it is because of the change in pigment in the blockage.
When partial blockage is blocked completely, the oil collects around the hair and the hair root, and is infected by the bacteria present in the skin. The bacterium transforms the oil into inflammatory chemicals that causes redness, soreness and formation of pus, known as pimples. When this spot is squeezed, the pus can break deep into the skin instead of on the skin surface. This bursting of pus in the skin can result in cyst formation. If the cyst is ruptured, it causes acne scars.
Treatments for Acne
Both men and women have a hormone named testosterone rotating in the blood. The person who is suffering from acne, this hormone can lay a heavy impact on the skin. This self-limiting acne may get better without treatment, but there is no way to assume how long it will take to get better. Acne may leave scars.
To cure acne effectively, it is necessary to determine the causes of acne and then undergo treatment based on that. Currently, many skincare creams are available that can give positive results if used regularly as a standalone or along with other therapies.
For women with acne, several combined oral contraceptive pills are available that can be helpful to cure acnes. But, be careful while choosing any contraception, otherwise, it may make your acne condition worse. Oral antibiotics are also effective, but it is advisable to take only after consulting the doctor.
If your acne problem is severe, you may require a stronger treatment. The most effective tablet to cure acne is isotretinoin. It entirely kills the acne in four to six months. However, some spots may reappear slowly after several years. Isotretinoin has shown excellent results. However, before taking it, it is strongly recommended that you discuss thoroughly with the dermatologist.
Other therapies like laser therapy and hyfrecation are also popular and effective to treat acnes. Laser therapy works by pointing the laser light on the skin, which kills the bacteria causing acne and repairs the damages caused by the bacteria.