What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin disorder that is caused by hormone action on the sebaceous glands (oil-secreting glands) of the skin. Hormones act on the skin's oil glands and hair follicles leading to clogged pores and lesions which we commonly call pimples. These usually form on your face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Even though acne does not lead to a serious health problem, it can lead to emotional disturbances such as low self-esteem. When it is severe, it can even leave behind permanent scars.
The sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance called sebum that is normally carried out to the skin surface through the tiny opening of the hair follicle, called a pore. The hair, sebum, and dead skin cells in the follicle may form a plug that prevents sebum from reaching the skin surface. The bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) found normally on your skin start to grow in these follicles and cause inflammation. When this plug breaks down, it causes pimples.
Types of Pimples
There are many types of pimples. The most common types include:
- Whiteheads: These pimples from under the surface of the skin and appear as a small white bump on the skin.
- Blackheads: These pimples form on the skin surface and are black in color.
- Papules: These are small pink bumps that can be painful when you touch them.
- Pustules: These pimples appear red at their base and are filled with pus.
- Nodules: These are large, painful, solid pimples.
- Cysts: These are deep, painful, pus-filled pimples and can cause scars.
Causes of Acne
Acne is common in teenagers because of excessive hormone production of androgens during puberty. These hormones make the oil glands produce more sebum and also clog the pores of your skin. It can also occur as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy or when birth control pills are started or stopped. In addition, heredity may also play a role, where it runs in families. The use of certain drugs containing lithium and oily creams can also contribute to acne. In women, acne frequently worsens at the time of menstruation.
Treatment for Acne
Acne is often treated by medicines that may be applied to the skin or taken orally.
- Medical treatments often include one or more medicines and treatments used together:
- Topical retinoids to normalize oil production and unclog pores
- Topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide to kill acne bacteria
- Topical salicylic acid and glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin
- A good sun block made for acne prone skin to prevent hyperpigmentation from inflammation, and the sun.
- In more severe cases oral medications may include antibiotics, Accutane (isotretinoin), oral contraceptives and spironolactone.
- Exfoliation with chemical peels or microdermabrasion can clear acne and reveal healthier, brighter skin.
- Acne cysts are treated with steroid injections.
- $50 per lesion