The prevalence of acne vulgaris among adolescents and young adults is estimated to about 70 – 80%, plus cases of adult acne are also very common. Although this condition is not life-threatening, its influence on psychological development is quite significant and targets persons at a sensitive age.
Problems associated with esthetic issues of severe and persistent acne may result in emotional instability and negatively affect education, relationships, and overall psychological state of a young person. Additionally, acne treatment can be very long and include a lot of trial and error attempts. This is why persons with acne should receive the proper individual acne skin care, with a multidisciplinary approach.
Symptoms of acne vulgaris depend on the type and individual susceptibility to their development, as well as environmental factors. Acne is the most common in regions of the skin with a large number of sebaceous glands, such as the face, chest, and the upper back. Almost all persons with acne problems experience acne on the face, and most of them also have acne on the back.
There are three major types of acne presented with different symptoms.
Mild acne is characterized by the appearance of comedones, which are simply occluded evacuating tubes of sebaceous glands in the middle layer of the skin called dermis. On the surface of the skin, they are often seen as “blackheads”, “whiteheads”. Papules and pustules occur rarely and they are not very inflamed.
Blackheads develop when skin oil and dead cells form a plug in the opening of hair follicles. If the skin covering the bump remains closed, it is called a whitehead. When the skin over the bump opens, exposure to the air makes it look black. This type of acne is more likely to result in scarring, than the mild form.
Moderate acne is more visible than mild acne. There is a higher number of blackheads, pustules, and papules. Skin tends to inflame more often. Sometimes few nodules might occur.
Severe inflammatory acne is the most skin-damaging. It’s characterized by widespread inflammation, large cysts, and nodules under the skin. This type of acne may be painful and if left unmanaged, it often causes permanent skin damage which is very hard to treat.
Acne is a multifactor disease with a very complicated development process. Many studies have been conducted with the aim to determine what causes acne. Androgen hormone levels get increased at the beginning of puberty, and they promote the secretion of sebum. As the amount of sebum content in the sebaceous glands increases, the first comedones appear. Their inflammation is initiated and further propagated by the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. Its severity depends on genetic predisposition, environmental factors, hygiene, and quality of acne treatment.
There are several approaches to the acne treatment. Moderate and severe acne require topical and in some cases oral acne medicine, which is irrelevant in cases of mild acne.
Topical acne treatment includes antibacterial agents (Benzoyl peroxide 3-10%), and comedolytic agents (Isotretinoin), aimed to destroy the comedones. Oral antibiotics and comedolytics are utilized in combination with topical agents if the topical application is not efficient enough.
The most commonly used comedolytic is isotretinoin. Erythromycin is the antibiotic of the first choice. Isotretinoin is an analog of vitamin A, and it is a potent teratogen, so it cannot be used in pregnant women or during breastfeeding.
Oral contraceptive pills could be useful for female acne treatment. Light therapy (blue light) is recommended in some cases of moderate and severe acne.
Q1: Can specific food cause acne?
A1: There is no direct link between diet and acne, but some studies have shown that foods with higher glycemic index could worsen this skin condition.
Q2: Should I squeeze out the content of pimples?
A2: No. Irritation only makes the acne worse. The best practice for cleaning your skin is undergoing a cosmetic treatment performed by a trained dermatologist.
Q3: Can acne remain active after adolescence?
A3: It mostly depends on your hormonal status and measures you take to get rid of it. Even the most severe acne could disappear after hormonal levels normalize, which usually happens after the adolescence. Still, this is not the reason not to undergo the treatment, as it could leave scars and pigmentation.
Our team offers the latest treatment for every type of acne breakouts. If you’re looking for a qualified advice on this skin condition, please schedule an appointment at the location which is most convenient for you.
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