One of the most common skin problems that most of the people suffer from is acne. Acne is a disease that involves the oil glands of the skin. Acne develops when hair follicles get blocked and infected. Acne can happen in the face, chest, shoulders, neck or upper portion of the back. Acne can affect people of all age groups but it is most common amongst young adults. But at times people in their fifties can also get acne. In the USA, approximately 17 million people suffer from some kind of acne.
What are the main causes of acne?
No one knows exactly what causes acne but it is believed that increase in the hormone known as androgen in the body is the primary cause behind this skin porblem. Increase of androgen causes the oil glands that produces oil to grow at a rapid speed. This results in excessive sebum production. So, the main cause of acne is hormonal changes in the body during the teenage days. Hormone changes that happen during pregnancy may also cause acne. Other causes are irregular skin shedding, oily skin surface, bacteria, accumulation of fatty acids within sebaceous glands and so on. For more info on acne, visit www.niams.nih.gov and familydoctor.org
Factors that can trigger or make the condition of acne worse are:
- Fluctuating hormone levels in the body of females during the time of menstruation
- Rough handling of skin
- Wrong type of clothes which can cause skin irritation
- Living in highly polluted and humid area
- Too much exposure to industrial products such as cutting oils may produce acne.
- The condition of acne can get worse one or two weeks before menstrual period due to hormonal changes in the body of females.
- Too much anxiety and stress can affect some of the hormonal levels in the body, which in turn can make acne worse.
- Living in hot and humid climates can also make the condition of acne worse.
- Use of oil based make-up products such as moisturizing creams, lubricating lotions and so can block the pores of your skin, which is not good for acne prone skin.
- Greasy hair products will have the same effect as oil based makeup. Hair products with cocoa butter or coconut butter should not be used by those who suffer from acne.
- Squeezing the pimples is not a good habit as it will make the condition of your acne worse and there will be also be the risk of scarring.
Some factors that do not usually cause acne are:
- Heredity is the not the reason behind acne. In fact, almost everyone suffer from the problem of acne at some point in their life.
- It is very common to hear people say that chip, chocolate, greasy and fried foods, and junk food items are the reason behind acne. But in reality these types of food cannot cause acne or make it worse. However for a health it is a good idea to avoid eating such foods in excessive amount.
- People often believe too much sweating can cause acne, but there is no truth behind this fact. In fact sweating is good as it helps to remove the bad toxins from the body.
Different types of acne
Acne can be different types having different signs and symptoms. Some of the common types of acne are:
- Spots which look like red swellings on the skin. These swellings may be inflamed and filled with pus.
- Blackheads which are open skin pores occurring at the surface of the skin. Blackheads have dark spots at the center.
- Whiteheads which are white spots on the skin that bulge under the skin due to lack of opening.
- Pustules develop from blackheads or whiteheads and look like red lumps on the skin surface. Pustules are usually filled with pus.
- Cysts are inflamed, fluid-filled lumps under the skin which are generally large in size.
How can you treat acne?
The problem of acne may be mild, moderate or severe and hence before starting any treatment you need to be sure about what type of acne you have. Depending on the severity of acne, you can opt for both over the counter medications or prescribed medications.
Over the counter acne medications are available in different forms like gels, soaps, creams and lotions. Those having sensitive skin should try a cream or lotion, while those having oily skin should use gels. When you use a product for acne, be sure to follow the directions exactly. Don’t use more than you’re supposed to because it can make your skin very red and very dry. While trying over the counter medicines for acne for the first time you may suffer from skin irritation, redness, and burning. However, these side effects usually go away after continued use. So, experts suggest to try a new product first by applying little bit on the skin. This will help to know whether the product suits your skin type or not. In case of any doubt you should see your doctor. Acne medicine can take weeks or months to work.
People usually seek medical advice for acne when it makes them unhappy about their appearance, when acne is producing scars or dark patches on the skin and when the condition of acne becomes severe. Doctor and dermatologists often recommend prescription medications to control severe acne condition and prevent permanent scars. If there is no improvement in the condition in two to three months, further medical treatment is required.
At times doctor even prescribe hormone therapy to treat acne amongst people having signs and symptoms of excess androgen level in the body. For more acne treatment options, you can check www.acne.org.
Home remedies for acne
At the same time you can also try simple and easy to follow natural remedies to get rid of acne. By home remedies it means with the use of simple and easily available ingredients from your kitchen, you can deal with this kind of skin problem. If you suffer from acne there are some old remedies that you can always try. For instance, www.top10homeremedies.com suggests that the best remedy to get rid of acid is lemon juice. The acidic property of lemon can be very useful in cleaning dirt accumulated on the pores. Just take a slice of lemon and rub it on the affected area and leave it for few hours before rinsing your face with clean water. According to the website, www.acneskinsite.com, toothpaste can also be used to get rid from acne. Toothpaste is most effective when spot treating. Simply apply a little amount of toothpaste to an individual pimple and see results by the next day. At another website, www.grandmashomeremedies.com it is written that rubbing raw garlic on the affected skin area several times a day, can give you clear skin. It is also suggested to eat three to four raw garlic cloves once daily for a month to see results. Apart from the above mentioned remedies for acne, there are many more tips that you can try easily at home.
Some precautionary measures for controlling acne
It is very important to look after your skin properly if you have acne (or are prone to acne). Some skin care tips that you must follow are:
- Wash your face about twice each day with a mild soap and warm water.
- Also avoid using face cloth or other scrubbing materials to clean your face as it can cause scarring.
- Keep your hands away from the pimples as it can cause infections. Also popping pimples increase the chance of scarring.
- Do not touch your face too often with your hands as it can cause skin irritation. First wash your hands and then only apply lotions, creams or makeup on your face.
- If the acne is on your back, shoulders or chest, then wear loose fitting clothes. This will allow your skin to breathe. Also make sure to wear clean cloths only.
- Before going to bed, remove all your makeup and then wash your face properly. If required you can apply a light moisturizer.
- As hair collects sebum, it is important to keep your long hair clean and away from your face.
- Use a cleanser specially formulated for acne to help you to get rid of the acne spots.
- At the same time try to use light and oil-free make up products such as foundation, blusher and so on. Heavy make-up products can block the pores which is not good for acne.
Anyone can get acne, but it is common in teenagers and young adults. It is not serious, but as it can cause scars on the skin, it is good idea to deal with it on time.