What is Acne?
Your skin has numerous small openings called pores. Sometimes, external factors such as oil, dirt, dead skin cells, or bacteria clog these pores, which results in an eruption of pimples. One such condition when the skin gets affected by spots regularly is called Acne.
Acne commonly appears on the face, forehead, chest, shoulders, and upper back. These areas have the most oil-producing (sebaceous) glands in the body. People who have oily or acne-prone skin are at a higher risk of developing Acne.
Acne may appear in the form of pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads.
Whiteheads appear when the wall of the hair follicle bulges. Blackheads occur when the plug of the hair follicle remains open, causing it to darken. A blackhead looks like dirt stuck in the pores of your skin.
Pimples appear when the follicles get blocked and become inflamed. A pimple looks like a bulged red spot with a white center. The pores are supposed to be free of dirt or bacteria as these can irritate the skin. The blockage of pores is one of the most common causes of pimples.
What are the causes of Acne?
The causes of Acne may vary for every individual. However, some commonly observed triggers include:
- Excess oil production
- Genetic factors
- Blockage due to dead skin cells or dirt
- Greasy cosmetics
- Occupational factors
Here are a few factors that worsen the Acne:
Not all medications cause or trigger acne. If you are consuming medications that contain lithium, corticosteroids or testosterone, it may worsen your Acne. It would help if you got your Acne treated at the earliest to avoid scarring or pigmentation.
- Hormonal Changes
Due to the hormonal changes, your body reacts in different ways. One of them is the excess secretion of sebum (oil) from the sebaceous glands. Such hormonal changes can also occur during pregnancy or adolescence. Even taking oral contraceptives may induce these hormonal changes.
Research shows that certain food items trigger Acne more than others. Such food items include carbohydrate-rich food like chips, bread or other junk food. Consumption of starchy food and saturated fats triggers Acne as well.
To balance out the effects of these food items, you can consult a dietitian. He/She can help you with which food items to consume to ensure the Acne does not worsen.
Stress does not cause Acne. But if you already have Acne, anxiety can worsen it. It will help if you keep the stress under control and practise techniques such as yoga and meditation. These techniques may help reduce stress.
What are the different types of Acne?
Papules are the swollen red bumps you see on your face. It develops when the pores get clogged with excess oil, dirt or dead skin cells. In some cases, the pressure in the blocked pore increases and causes its walls to rupture.
You may be tempted to squeeze, touch or pop the pimple, but don’t. Once ruptured, it can lead to the spread of the swollen red bump. It may also lead to scarring on your skin.
Pustules are just like papules, but with a white centre in the swollen red bump. In most cases, the white centre is infected or filled with pus. Pustules look like the classic pimple!
You may get confused between a pustule and whitehead. But a simple way to distinguish is through appearance. Pustules are inflamed and look red and swollen. Whiteheads are non-inflammatory and rarely appear red or painful.
Cysts are a rather severe form of Acne and look similar to boils. These feel soft to touch and are filled with pus and other liquids. Cystic Acne commonly appears on the jawline or on the back. These are caused by the bacteria, dead skin cells and excess oil.
If you develop cysts, you must immediately consult a dermatologist as the effects of cysts can last for weeks or months.
How to get rid of Acne?
If you have pimples or Acne or have developed them in the past, you must be wondering how to get rid of them. The treatment for Acne or pimples depends upon its severity. You can try out certain medications, soaps, lotions, creams, gels, and ointments. Ensure you try the products that suit your skin type. If your acne condition is severe, you may want to consult a dermatologist.
Here are a few remedies you can use for your Acne or pimples:
- Honey and Cinnamon Mask
Honey and cinnamon are known to have excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. These two ingredients help reduce inflammation and fight bacteria – two of the most common factors that trigger Acne.
- Use Aloe Vera
The aloe vera gel is used in many healthcare products such as creams, gels, ointments and lotions. The gel treats many conditions, including Acne. Aloe vera contains salicylic acid and sulfur – effective in acne treatment.
Exfoliation involves removing the layer of dead cells from the skin. It is usually performed using soft brushes and scrubs to remove the dead cells physically. You can exfoliate your skin before applying face masks for better results.
Exfoliate your skin as and when needed. However, ensure you don,’t overdo it, as it may irritate the skin.
You can also follow some simple skincare tips that will help you keep Acne at bay. These include the following:
- Wash your face, at least twice a day, with a mild face wash to remove the dirt, bacteria and excess oil.
- Use face creams and lotions that suit your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, check the ingredients on the product before purchasing it.
- Avoid touching the pimples or Acne; it may cause infection and spread further.
- Drink plenty of water and try to avoid greasy or junk food.
If you feel the Acne is getting worse, do consult your dermatologist immediately. Ideally, just like your health check-up, you should also get your skin checked regularly. Skin and hair health is equally important as your overall health.