“Acne (Zits or pimples) is a skin condition that affects sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Acne typically occurs on the face or neck but can also occur on the upper back, chest, or shoulders. Depending on its severity, acne can lead to scarring of the skin causing frustration and emotional distress.”
Acne (Zits or pimples) is a skin condition that affects sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Acne typically occurs on the face or neck but can also occur on the upper back, chest, or shoulders. Depending on its severity, acne can lead to scarring of the skin causing frustration and emotional distress.
Acne usually is not a serious medical condition but you may need to seek medical help if:
- you develop persistent pimples or inflamed cysts to prevent further scarring or other damage to the skin.
- your social relationships or self-esteem are affected because of the cosmetic appearance of your skin.
It may present in the following forms:
- Comedones occur as a result of the openings of hair follicles being clogged and blocked with oil secretions, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria. When comedones are open at the skin surface they are called blackheads. When comedones are closed, they are called whiteheads.
- Papules and pustules are small red, raised bumps and occur due to inflammation or infection in the hair follicles.
- Nodules are large, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin, formed by the build-up of secretions deep within the hair follicles.
- Cysts are painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin and can cause scars
Acne can be caused by one or more of the following factors:
- Overproduction of oil (sebum)
- Irregular shedding of dead skin cells resulting in irritation of the hair follicles of your skin
- Build-up of bacteria and infection
Some risk factors for acne include:
- Hormonal changes in the body that can aggravate acne.
These changes commonly occur in teenagers, women and teenage girls just before periods and in pregnant women.
- Use of certain steroid medications such as cortisone
- Exposure to certain cosmetics
- Family history
Most treatments for Acne work either by:
- reducing oil production
- speeding up turnover of cells from the skin
- fighting bacterial infection and reducing the inflammation
These may be prescription medication which are applied to the skin (topical medication) or taken by mouth (oral medication).
Various types of treatments available for Acne include:
- Topical treatments for mild acne include:
- Over-the-counter lotions that contain benzoyl peroxide, sulphur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or lactic acid.
They work by promoting cell turnover and preventing plugging of the hair follicles.
- Oral Antibiotics may be needed to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation in severe acne.
- Isotretinoin is a powerful medication used to treat severe scarring cystic acne or acne that does not respond to other treatments.
- Laser and light therapy: Laser treatment affects the oil (sebaceous) glands, causing them to produce less oil. Light therapy targets the bacterium that causes acne inflammation.
Some acne prevention and self-care tips include:
- Washing acne prone areas twice a day to remove removes excess oil and dead skin cells.
- Using acne cream or gel to help dry excess oil.
- Avoiding heavy foundation makeup and removing makeup before going to bed.
- Wear loose fitting clothing as tight fitting clothing traps heat and moisture and can irritate the skin on the neck, shoulders and the back resulting in acne eruptions.
- Shower after exercising or doing strenuous work to wash off the oil and grime from the skin.
- Avoiding picking or squeezing the pimples as these can cause infection or scarring.
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