Everything you should know about Acne
June is Acne Awareness Month!
And here is everything you should know about Acne
Acne is the most common skin condition affecting more than 50 million people in the USA. Acne awareness month is not the one to remind people what they face daily, but instead helps spread awareness to reduce stigma around acne.
First things first,
What is acne?
Sebum is produced in the sebaceous glands present inside the pores. This oil (sebum) goes through the follicles to the skin surface along with dead skin cells that get washed away when you cleanse. But when the same follicle clogs with the presence of sebum, hair, bacteria, and dead skin cells, it leads to acne. Blackheads, whiteheads, papules, nodules, and pustules are different types of acne. It can occur anywhere on the body. Acne is not a health threat. It is a skin condition that can be upsetting for some people.
Almost every other person has had breakouts or acne at some point in their life. For some people, acne goes away on its own, but some people might need treatment or a change in daily habits and daily skincare routine. However, only persistent and severe acne can sometimes lead to scarring.
Different Types of Acne
- Whiteheads are formed when a clogged follicle stays inside the skin.
- When the clogged follicle comes at the surface of the skin and opens up, it becomes a blackhead as the oil turns black when it comes in contact with the air.
- Pimples form when the wall of the follicle breaks down.
- Papules are inflamed raised bumps.
- Pustules are pimples with pus, sometimes painful. Picking or scratching pustules can, in some cases, lead to scarring.
- Nodules are hard, painful lesions deep under the skin.
Although no form of acne is a threat to your health, it can, however, give emotional distress to some people. Since persistent and severe acne could leave a scar on the skin, it is better to opt for treatment and adopt healthy changes to your daily habits and skincare routine.
Causes of Acne
The immediate causes of acne are
- Production of excess sebum in the sebaceous glands inside the pores.
- Clogging of hair follicles with dead skin cells and sebum.
- Bacteria inside the hair follicles blocking the hair follicles and pores.
- Use of unsuitable skincare products.
Other leading causes of acne include
- Hormonal Changes. A rise in Androgen (in men) and estrogen (in women) levels are the primary cause of acne. These hormones rise when a person enters adolescence causing a rise in the oil glands inside the pores. The enlarged sebaceous glands lead to an increased level of sebum. An increase in the level of sebum breaks the cellular wall enabling the bacteria to grow as well. This is why acne is said to be most aggravated during puberty. Hormonal changes during periods
- Genetic factors. There are no acne-specific genetic. But, Genetics indeed is another way to guess if you are prone to acne.
- Lifestyle factors. Certain lifestyle factors, too, are responsible for acne. Irregular diet patterns, erratic sleep patterns, alcohol consumption, and smoking could be other reasons you have acne.
- Pollution and weather patterns. Pollution is said to increase free radicals in the skin, causing a rise in bacteria and dead skin cells, leading to acne. Staying in humid weather for more extended periods is another cause of rising acne.
- Using too oily skincare products could clog the pores leading to acne.
Some Myths about Acne.
There are some myths related to acne that many people believe to be true and seem to follow DIY practices to deal with the issue. These home remedies or DIYs, in some cases, help with acne while, in some cases with severe acne, aggravate the problem instead of eradicating it. Experts suggest following the dermatologist-advised treatment and changing your daily skincare routine as per your skin type and habits as per your skin condition.
Some of the myths are
- Stress Acne. One of the most believed myths is that stress is the primary cause of acne. Stress brings many changes to your body and skin, but stress is never the cause of acne. It can, however, worsen acne.
- Eating oily foods causes acne. No, acne is never caused by eating oily foods or chocolates.
- Acne breaks out only on the face. Acne is a skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body. Mainly, acne occurs on the face, chest, upper back, and shoulder.
- Acne affects only in teenage. Acne can affect anyone at any point in their life.
Frequent washing keeps acne at bay. No, if you think regularly washing your face or acne-prone area will not surface acne, you are undoubtedly under a myth. While it is important to clean your face twice a day to maintain a good daily skincare routine, washing more than twice without the need to do it can worsen your skin condition and lead to acne. This is because dryness from frequent washing can irritate the skin and lead to further breakouts.
Available treatment for Acne
While a pimple or two would go away on its own, you might need effective treatment if the acne is persistent and severe. There are many treatments available for acne that include over-the-counter medications and ointments, but it is always better to change your lifestyle and skincare routine first before visiting a dermatologist for the treatment.
The treatment your dermatologist would recommend
- Oral medications - Antibiotics.
- Topical Medications - Creams, gels, and soaps.
Apart from these oral and topical medications, some people with severe acne might also choose to go for
- Laser therapy
- Chemical peels
- Surgery to remove cysts
- Other injectable medications
We suggest going for these heavy medications only after consulting a dermatologist.
Expert tips to help you control Acne
Using the right topical treatment or religiously following a healthy skincare routine as per your skin type and skin condition can also help bring acne under control. Let us see some expert tips to control acne.
- Follow a proper skincare routine. Following a good skincare routine keeping acne prone skin in mind helps a lot in keeping acne away. When you take care of your skin as you should, many of your skin problems stay away, including acne, blemishes, and aging skin.
- Wash your face at least twice a day. It is suggested to wash your face at least twice a day to keep it clean and clear of unwanted impurities, excess oil, dirt, and pollution. Frequently washing your face can rip your skin off the protective barrier while removing the necessary oils to maintain skin health. It is suggested to wash your face twice daily with a mild cleanser and warm water.
- Tone. Use an alcohol-free toner that hydrates and maintains the pH balance of the skin. Toning helps to clean the pores of leftover impurities, dirt, and grime while keeping the pores clean and tight.
- Use a serum. Use a serum that helps with acne while also hydrating the skin. You can also go for a combination of two serums. Niacinamide serum and salicylic acid serum are great to combat acne, while a hyaluronic acid serum can help to hydrate the skin from deep within.
- Always Moisturize. It is not a good step to avoid moisturizer if you have acne. Use a moisturizer as per your skin type. Make sure to use a non-comedogenic moisturizer that does not clog the pores.
- Face-oils. It is again a myth that people with acne prone skin should not use a facial oil. Instead, using the right facial oil can help soothe skin while maintaining the right balance of oil in the skin. Tea-tree oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, and argan oil are great for acne prone skin. These facial oils help regulate sebum production and work on acne, cysts, rosacea, and other skin conditions.
Protect with Sunscreen. Every skin type needs protection from harmful UV rays. Harmful sun rays can irritate the skin and lead to inflammation and redness. Stay out of the sun if you can and if you need to go out, make sure to wear SPF 30 or above 20 minutes before stepping out.
Go for Spot treatment. Spot treatments are directly applied to the acne and deliver the right acne-fighting ingredients. However, spot treatments work only on acne on the skin surface to diminish or remove them. Benzoyl Peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol are some of the spot treatments you can use. Some of these spot treatments dry up the skin. Counter it with a moisturizer.
Do not over oil your hair. It is advised not to put excessive oil on your hair as an oily scalp is also one of the reasons behind an oily and acne-prone face. Also, wash your hair twice or thrice a week to keep them clean and free of oil build-up.
- Take a balanced diet. Diet plays a significant role in whatever happens to your body, including your skin. Eating a balanced and healthy diet can help keep the skin and every other organ happy.
- Do not overuse make-up. Acne prone skin can get hugely affected by the overuse of make-up. It is advised to use only essential make-up products that are non-comedogenic. Water-based products are preferred over oil-based products.
Exfoliate once a week. Exfoliation is necessary to get rid of dead skin cell build-up while cleaning the pores. Use a gentle scrub and gently massage onto the skin. Do not rub roughly, or you might damage the skin’s protective barrier. Some face masks with serum help exfoliate while hydrating the skin and keeping the acne away.
Acne is just a skin condition that can be prevented or cured with effective skincare and treatments. It is a natural problem that almost everyone goes through, and there is nothing to be ashamed or upset about. Being confident in your personality would leave every acne or scar far behind. Apart from that, you should be loved for who you are, for your heart, and not for your skin.