Acne is the term for plugged pores pimples, and even deeper lumps that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms. Anyone can get acne, but it is common in teenagers and young adults. About 80% of people will have some degree of acne between the ages of 11 and 30. In puberty, acne occurs because of changes to hormone levels, which cause the sebaceous glands to produce increased amounts of sebum. Together with dead skin cells, the sebum blocks the hair follicles, which enables the formation of ‘spots’ ranging from blackheads to painful red nodules. As with the other physical changes that happen during puberty, acne usually corrects itself over time. It most cases it should get better without treatment. However, in some people this may take many years and can potentially cause permanent scarring, so a variety of treatments are available.
Acne lesions can be characterized into two types inflammatory and non-inflammatory. The former manifests itself in three types of comedones, or blocked pores which become inflamed due to the bacterial clogging papules, pustules and cysts. These are most likely to leave unsightly scares and marks on the skin. The non inflammatory acne is seen in the form of black heads and whiteheads.
Acne is a skin condition that affects the hair follicles and the sebaceous glands in the skin, which secrete an oily substance called sebum. It also can be caused by the rapid production of a bacteria P. acnes . Acne is very common – nearly 17 million people in the US are affected by this condition.
Acne most often begins in puberty. During puberty, the male sex hormones (androgens) increase in both boys and girls, causing the sebaceous glands to become more active – resulting in increased production of sebum. Hormone changes, such as those during the teenage years and pregnancy, probably play a role. There are many myths about what causes acne. Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, but there is little evidence that foods have much effect on acne in most people. Another common myth is that dirty skin causes acne; however, blackheads and pimples are not caused by dirt. Stress doesn’t cause acne, but stress can make it worse.
Causes of Acne
1. The glands produce too much of their oils (sebum).
2. This leads to tiny plugs blocking the ducts.
3. The glands continue to secrete, leading to swelling behind the plug.
4. Stress, through increased output of hormones from the adrenal (stress) glands.
5. Use of anabolic steroids.
6. Irregular shedding of dead skin cells resulting in irritation of the hair follicles of your skin.
7. Buildup of bacteria.
Symptoms of Acne
1. The largest spots are more likely to leave lasting scars.
2. Small spots which known as “blackheads” (or open comedones).
Treatment of Acne
1. Washes and scrubs. These are antiseptic liquid cleansers, sometimes similar to the ones surgeons use on their hands before performing an operation. It is thought that these may be helpful, particularly combined with another form of treatment.
2. Benzoyl peroxide. This is a chemical which is in many acne preparations. It opens up the blocked ducts, and helps to kill the bacteria. It comes in various strengths, and you should start on the lowest strength you can get (usually 2.5%) because it makes the skin red and raw to begin with when first used. You can work up to 10% strength. Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or clothing with which it comes into contact.
3. There are other chemicals sometimes used in creams and gels such as: salicylic acid, nicotinamide, and azelaic acid.
4. Creams, lotions etc., based on Vitamin A eg tretinoin, isotretinoin and adapalene. These, as with benzoyl peroxide, irritate the skin. You should start off on a low strength and build up as the skin gets used to it. These preparations can also be used to get rid if wrinkles! These should not be used during pregnancy or breast feeding.
5. Antibiotics by mouth can be helpful in more severe cases. Note that caution is needed in starting these if you are on the oral contraceptive pill, also they should not be used in pregnancy or while actively trying to become pregnant. Your doctor will advise.
Home Remedy for acne
1. Lemon has also proved effective in controling pimples and acne. Its juice should be applied regularly to obtain relief.
2. Apply fresh lime juice mixed with a half glass of boiled milk for treating pimples, blackheads and cracked skin.
3. Apply fresh mint juice every night to treat acne. Good home remedy
4. Make a paste of ground orange peel with water. Apply on affected area. Wash it off after 20-30 minutes with lukewarm water.
5. The orange peel is valuable in the treatment of acne.
6. Apply ripe tomatoes pulp on pimples and kept up to 1 hour, then wash.
7. Drinking of wheatgrass juice may also remove acne.