Acne is a skin disease which occurs primarily in early adolescence and young adulthood but some forms may also be common in adults, although the incidence decreases after the age of 25.
Some people, particularly women, develop acne for the first time in their late 20's or 30's. Severe acne tends to run in families and it presents more often in males
Acne is a skin condition that can be successfully treated with targeted topical preparations, dietary modification and nutritional supplementation.
Acne should not be confused with Acne Rosacea which is a skin condition that is mentioned separately.
People who have adnormalities in circulating androgens and those who suffer from some endocrine disorders may also develop Acne, and some drugs can also either cause or make the Acne worse.
Acne begins when sebaceous glands secrete excess oil and flood the follicle. When the oil presses up close to the skin and hardens to form a plug this is called a “blackhead.” A blackhead, despite the name, is not caused by dirt, and poor hygiene by itself does not result in Acne or blackheads. The black colour of the blackhead is the oil and skin debris accumulated at the opening the gland. Whiteheads are formed in similar manner, but the plug is much deeper under the skin.
Both blackheads and whiteheads disrupt the flow of sebum. Both can result in lesions that are bumps, nodules, cysts, or pustules. Whiteheads are keratin plugs, which close the gland opening. Blackheads are also keratin plugs in the gland opening but the gland remains open to the outside. Both Whiteheads and blackheads may be present in people who suffer from acne.
There are many different types of acne, but there are three common types which are Acne Vulgaris ( the most common type and the one that troubles most young people ), Cystic Acne and Acne Rosacea. Acne Vulgaris is also then subdivided into 3 classes: Mild, Moderate and Severe Inflammatory Acne.
Mild inflammatory acne is caused when the area just under the plug becomes infected by an overabundance of white cell matter battling skin bacteria. The area becomes inflamed and reddened. There are two types of mild inflammatory acne, papules and pustules. Papules are reddened, inflamed acne while the pustules are reddened acne with a white collection of pus at the top.
Factors that exacerbate acne:
- overproduction of sebum
- bacterial growth
- abnormal hair growth
- environmental factors, such as humidity, drugs, and cosmetics
- occlusion of the hair follicles by headbands, bra straps or chinstraps
- emotional stress
Although there is no cure for acne, there are numerous treatments for helping to prevent serious outbreaks. When treating acne, one should never try to squeeze the lesions as this can leave the skin open to infection which can lead to scarring.
Treatment for Acne involves:
- Reducing the inflammation by avoiding rupture of the pustules
- Limiting bacterial growth
- Washing with soap and water once or twice daily to reduce the accumulation of debris and oils
- Try to keep oily or greasy materials off your face.
- Do not squeeze or pick at the acne as this may cause serious infections in those already inflamed follicles, and usually doesn’t allow the acne to heal any faster
- Teenagers should reduce intake of stimulants.
- Develop a consistent cleansing routine - Use cleansing and healing topical products as prescribed by your health professional