Acne is a persistent skin condition that develops when oil and dead skin cells clog pores which leads to pimples, blackheads, zits, painful lumps under the skin and whiteheads. It usually affects face, neck, back and chest. Although this disease is not dangerous it heals pretty slowly and in some cases it can lead to scars. Teenagers and young people are more prone to acne but sometimes this condition can occur in adults. It’s estimated that about 70% to 80% teenagers suffer from acne. Many people at first try to treat acne with nonprescription remedies such as cleansing lotions and other skin products, but according to relevant sources this isn’t recommended because this skin condition requires tailored acne treatment in order to be successfully cured. If you suffer from acne, we suggest you to make an appointment and see our top dermatologists.
There are several major causes of acne, and some of them are:
- Excessive sebum production
- Hormonal activity
- Genetic factors
Teenage years are characterized by changed hormonal activity which in turn leads to excessive sebum production – sebum is an oily substance produced by oil glands and its purpose is to prevent skin and hair from becoming dry. So, excessive sebum and dead skin cells start to accumulate in the hair follicles leading to formation of pimples, blackheads or whiteheads. It is believed that blackheads are actually dirt stuck in the follicles but they are in reality a mix of sebum and bacteria which turns black in contact with the air. Pimples are clogged up follicles that are inflamed and they look like red bumps on the skin surface. If acne isn’t properly treated, sebum and dead skin cells start building up deep into the pores causing a severe form of this disease to develop, called cystic acne. This condition is characterized by rupturing of the inflamed follicles and spreading bacteria-infested mass into the surrounding area and infecting it. It’s important to say that there are some misconceptions about acne, such as the claims that greasy foods, chocolate, or cosmetics worsen the condition.
First of all, medication for normalization of sebum production and combating bacterial infections might be prescribed. It can be in the form of topical (applies directly on the skin) or oral (tablets or pills) medications. Bear in mind that acne treatment can be very long and that sometimes it takes weeks or even months to see the results, and it depends on the severity of the disease. Topical medications include retinoids, antibiotics and dapsone, and their purpose is to make skin less oily and to prevent clogging up pores. Oral medications are antibiotics, combined oral contraceptives that are used for girls and women, and isotretinoin, used for the most severe acne that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Besides that, various therapies are recommended, for example chemical peel, light therapy that reduces bacterial inflammation, or extraction of blackheads and whiteheads that can’t be removed otherwise although this procedure may cause scars. In case that scars have appeared, dermatologists resort to chemical peels, light therapy, laser resurfacing, while deeper scars are treated by dermabrasion.
If acne doesn’t go away, you should consult your doctor instead of experimenting with over-the-counter skin products. Treatment should be individually tailored and carefully monitored.
If you’re tormented by acne, visit our clinic and talk to our experienced dermatologists who could provide you with the best advice and treatment.