What Is Acne?
Every individual must suffer from a pimple at any stage of life. The common name used for pimples is the acne. It normally occurs when the grease like fluid start secreting from the sebaceous glands and then plug the small openings for hair follicles. In cases when the openings are large they will form blackheads. If the opening are small then whiteheads dominate flesh colored bumps appear. Both of the conditions may become complicated and develop in to swollen, pimples or tender inflammation or in the form of nodules. In some cases the nodules may grow under the skin that become tender, inflamed and infection occurs.
About 20% of all acne cases arises in the adult age, commonly starts during puberty. People with age of 10 to 13 are more likely to be affected by acne and people with oily skin are a great risk. At this level acne normally lasts for 5 or more years and start disappearing at early 20s. Although it occurs in both the sexes but males are more likely to have acne. Women have likely to get acne after 30s.
Acne appears most likely on face, but it may occur on any part of the body such as, chest, neck, shoulder, back and some time on arms too. It is generally believed that poor diet, poor hygienic habits or uncontrolled sex drive are not the cause of acne. The problems lies behind hereditary and hormonal changes.
What Causes Acne?
The main causes of acne are still not understood, stress can increase acne but it cannot cause acne. The most common cause of acne are hormonal and bacterial.
Hormones: Increase in the hormone production during teenage is the leading factor causing acne. During growth both male and female secrete the common hormone androgen that are the male sex hormone including testosterone. Testosterone imposes the body to produce sebum from the oil glands and acne results.
Bacteria: The excess secreted sebum then clogs the hair openings especially in areas such as neck, face, nose, back and chest. Bacteria starts growing in these clogged areas. This allows the formation of black or whiteheads which are commonly known as “comedones” on the skin surface. In severe cases under the pressure of clogging the skin burst out. Whenever this situation arises sebum leaks out and start entering in to nearby tissues and forms a pustule or pimple. This condition is commonly known as inflammatory acne and the pustules are called nodules.
Oral contraceptives depending on the conditions may suppress or trigger acne in women. Some intrauterine birth and injectable contraceptives may cause the acne. In bodybuilders the most common causes of acne are the steroids that may lead to outbreaks and cause pimple.
Normally it is seen that people who escaped their teenage pimple free get acne when they grow up. Although during puberty huge amount of androgen secretes in the body but doctors think that the acne depends on how someone’s body respond to that increase. If the acne causing bacteria accumulate too many in hair follicles they are more likely to secrete enzymes and break down sebum which causes inflammation. The infection depends on the individuals because some individuals are more sensitive and respond more. Sebum level may results in the formation of one or few pimples in one individual while in other it may results in severe acne. Some advance cases may develop cystic acne.
Types of acne
Acne can be categorized in two major types
- Non inflammatory acne commonly known as comedones includes the most common blackheads and whiteheads.
- Inflammatory acne commonly includes pustules, papules, nodules, and cyst might be caused by the body’s response against an infection. The main difference between an inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne is that in case of non-inflammatory acne it is not red because the body didn’t start responding against the infection. In addition to this it is also not associated with pain. Reverse is true about inflammatory acne. It is painful, swollen and reddish and hurts at different levels. It can lead from days to weeks and left behind marks that may be permanent in severe cases.
Acne – Medications
Medications helps to manage the frequency and severity of acne outbreaks. Medication and treatment depends on the type of acne such as pimples, blackheads, cystic, or whiteheads. Medicines help in several ways
Unblocking skin openings and then stop them from being plugged with oil and dirt common medication tretinoin having brand name Retin-A is very effective.
Killing the acne causing bacteria with the help of antibiotics.
Reducing the excessive oil on the skin with isotretinion.
Reducing the hormone production or effect of hormones that are known to cause acne in women oral contraceptive pills are very effective. It is proved that the best treatment against acne is the combination of different medicines which include both topical and oral medications. Alternatively you can also take medicines such as clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide which is a gel containing two topical medicines.