ACNE: Causes, Types, Treatments & Remedies

Acne is a painful as well as embarrassing commonly occurring medical condition that results in the scars, spots and painful pimples all over the skin. Acne is most common in the age groups passing through their puberty, but for many it is a lifelong treachery.

Acne tends to occur commonly during puberty and affects about 80–90% of teenagers, however in rural societies the rates are much lower than the developed urban regions. In 2010, acne is said to have affected around 650 million people and is the 8th most common skin disease in the world.

Skin conditions also define the intensity with which the condition may break out, when it comes to acne age is only a factor that helps a physician in distinguishing between disorders. Various skin disorders bear a close resemblance to acne and may occur very frequently in childhood. Facial redness can be triggered with heat or with an excessive consumption of alcohol, sometimes spicy food too is suggestive of triggering rosacea.

Both the social and economic costs of the treatment of acne vulgaris tend to be substantial and in the United States alone, acne vulgaris has been responsible for over 5 million doctor visits, accumulating to a whooping direct cost of over $2.5 billion each year.

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History of Acne

We sometimes tend to think that acne has only come by recently, quite the opposite ancient people suffered from acne as bad as we do today. From ancient Egyptian writings about how the Egyptian royalty suffered from acne and stories as old as 1550 BC mention the tragedy.

In the ancient Rome, acne was common and was very commonly treated using hot mineral water during baths, together with sulphur to cleanse and unclog pores and also helps in drying out oils which otherwise clogged the skin.

Back in the 25 B.C. – A.D. 50 a Roman encyclopedist, mentions how try to treat pimples, spots and freckles were in most cases a waste of time and yet women just would not stop caring for their looks.

What is acne?

Acne, simply put is the most common cause of spots and its most common victims are people aged in between 12 to 25. However, some unfortunate younger and older people also fall victim to the condition whereas genders also determine the intensity and the frequency of the medical conditions such as boys being more prone to acne compared to girls.

Acne often affects the face, but it may as well affect the back, neck or the chest depending on the intensity. The severity of this medical condition ranges from mild to severe. Every 8 in 10 teenagers tends to develop some degree of it though often the condition is mild.

However, by an estimate about 3 in 10 teenagers suffer from acne which is bad enough to scar and they need medical attention. If acne is not treated properly it can last for up to 5 years! Seek medical attention and advice just in case you have developed it.

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What are the types of acne?

Types of Acne

There are many types of acne, namely:

1. Comodone Acne with its distinctive features being:

  •  Blackheads – Dead skin cells, Oil and bacteria not only block pores but also cause small bumps, which may either be called blackheads or whiteheads. If one of these blocked pores stays open, it will be called a black head because it appears black.
  • Whiteheads – In case a pore is blocked, the very top of the bump tends to look more white and is therefore called a whitehead.

2. Inflammatory Acne that comes with a few key indicators of the medical condition such as:

  • Papules – Sometimes these pores are so irritated their walls break, causing bigger pimples, which are then called papules and pustules. Papules feel hard when touched, and a bunch of these near each other on your skin can make it feel like sandpaper.
  • Pustules – Pustules are very similar to papules except that they are yellowish and are filled with liquid pus almost like a blister.
  • Cysts – Cysts acne tend to have pus and be softer. These are both embarrassing and painful, for they are BIG in size you should consult your doctor. There are many effective remedies out there to treat these cysts.
  • Nodules – When the blocked pores get extremely irritated, they tend to get even bigger. The blocked pores are pushed deeper into your skin, and can really hurt. These nodules are hard in nature.

3. Hormonal-Onset Acne

  • Acne Conglobata – Acne conglobata can be defined as a highly inflammatory disease which presented with nodules, abscesses, comedones, and even the draining sinus tracts.
  • Acne Fulminans – happens to be a severe form of acne, and is most likely to occur right after an unsuccessful treatment for some form of acne such as acne conglobata.

4. Other types of Acne

  • Pyoderma Faciale – an unusual type of acne that occurs in young women. It starts very abruptly and hardly ever persists for more than a year and is not associated with oily skin type alone. It is not confined to the face and does not affect in men.
  • Acne Rosacea – This chronic skin disease causes a very persistent redness all over the areas of our face and the nose and normally can be distinguished with a blush: the affected regions are mainly the chin, the forehead, and the lower half of the nose.
  • Gram Negative Folliculitis – This Gram-negative folliculitis acts like an acne disorder and is caused with a bacterial infection.

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What are the signs and symptoms of acne?

The Skin changes for acne includes various symptoms such as:

  • Cysts
  • The crusting of skin bumps
  • Pustules
  • Papules which happen to small red bumps
  • Scarring of the victim’s skin
  • The Redness around these eruptions and bumps
  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads

What causes acne?

Acne is a condition that breaks out when the skin gets blocked with dead skin, excessive oil and in cases with bacteria. All pores present on your skin present an opening for a follicle, and are the points from the oil gland excretes excess oil.
Acne tends to appear on the face, back, neck, chest and shoulders. The excess oil if not washed off properly, or when trapped can create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive in. In case the clogged pore is infected, with bacteria, inflammation is the result.

The four key factors that are the leading causes of acne are:

  • HormonesAndrogens, a type of hormones that naturally increase in both boys and girls as they reach puberty cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum.
  • Certain medicationsDrugs that contain high levels of androgens, corticosteroids or lithium can play a significant role in the worsening of acne.
  • Diet: What you eat is what you become, and various carbohydrate-rich foods such as chips, bagels and even bread can be a trigger for acne whilst a few dairy products also trigger the outbreak in may victims.
  • StressWe understand how acne can have you stressing but mind you, stress only makes acne worse.

What are the treatments and medications to treat acne?

Medicines are an effective solution and can help in a better and less painful management of the severity and the frequency of your acne outbreaks. While there are a number of acne treatments available out there, you must try to give home remedies a shot first and know that not every treatment will work for your specific condition being it whiteheads, blackheads or pimples.

Acne Topical Medication

  • Retinoids: If you happen to have a moderate to severe acne, which hasn’t gotten any better with treatments, retinoid can be an effective remedy.  They reduce the outbreaks of acne with the prevention of dead cells and clogging of pores. With the use of this medication, you will face side effects such as peeling of your skin and your acne getting worse.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are an effective remedy which will improve the look and feel of your skin and does so by killing bacteria which causes acne. If your doctor has earlier used benzoyl peroxide on your skin, you would have developed an antibiotic resistance.
  • Dapzone: The drug helps in decreasing the number and the severity of painful acne pimples also increasing the healing ability. Since it is an antibiotic, frequent dosage can have its consequences.

Acne Oral Medication

  • Oral Contraceptive: Dermatologists have for long been using birth control pills in attempts to treat acne, though most women fall a victim to premenstrual flare-ups and level shifts in their cycles but that’s just about it. The remedy is effective and practical.
  • Anti-Androgenic Agent:Anti-androgen therapies refer to the medication which is taken by women to counter off the effects of the male sex hormones, these being testosterone from acting on the skin. And side effects include severe migraine attacks, together with an increased risk of heart attacks and epileptic seizures.
  • Isotretinoin: Isotretinoin happens to be a prescription medicine which works effectively for severe acne. The drug can prove to bear grave consequences when taken during a pregnancy, therefore take proper tests of pregnancy before starting with the drug.

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Acne Therapies

  • Light Therapy: Light therapy at home attempts to prevent papules and pustules alike, these everyday “zits” which many people get are red and inflamed. However with non-inflamed whiteheads and blackheads the therapy hasn’t produced very impressive results.
  • Chemical PeelChemical peels have been administered by doctors and since chemical peels are acidic and are applied to the skin can chemically end up exfoliating the top layers of your skin. The exfoliation tends to signal the cells to produce much more rapidly.
  • ExtractionTo tell you to truth, Acne extractions happen to be the most effective remedy there is when performed by a qualified medical practitioner. These little bumps are not only hard but can also lead to painful complications in Acne.
  • Steroid InjectionThese injections often prove to be the quickest way to make a cystic acne go away. While these injections house great potential and have come about as a miracle cure for many suffering from acne, they have great limitations.

 Acne Scars Treatment

  • DermabrasionThis is a technique, which uses either a wire brush with rough edges or a diamond wheel and removes the upper layers of the skin. Leaving us with clearer skin, though wounds and injuries are inflicted with this therapy it completely relies on the healing power of the skin.
  • Laser ResurfacingThis therapy harnesses the power of lasers and range from being able to treat various dermal conditions, from acne scars to even age spots.
  • Soft Tissue FillersIn this therapy a filler for instance Radiesse, Belotereo or Retylane is injected directly into these acne scars through a very small needle.

Natural Remedies to treat acne

These natural home remedies, come with zero or no side effects when used in normal quantities.

Apple Cider Vinegar: With high contents of astringent which is a disinfectant, the Vinegar is able to help in balancing the pH levels. The Vinegar is rich in essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes making the healing and effectiveness of the remedy higher.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is rich in its chains of fatty acids such as the caprylic acid and the lauric acid. Both of these help fight off antiviral and antifungal agents.

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Honey: Honey is a natural antibiotic that kills bacteria-causing acne, with an osmotic effect; tends to absorb water, which is in the wound releasing hydrogen peroxide. With its antiseptic properties, killing bacteria and clearing acne.

Aloe Vera: This cactus-like plant comes with a thick and clear pulp and has anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-bacterial properties and also works as a pain inhibitor, a coagulating agent and has scar-reducing properties.

Tea Tree Oil: Dilute the tea tree oil mixing it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, put in about 10 drops and apply on your skin especially the affected area twice a day.

Green TeaGreen tea is rich in the six active ingredients such as catechins, inclusive of epicatechin, gallocatechin, epigallocatenin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin and EGCG which protects against the bacteria which causes acne. It also helps in regulating insulin levels, balances hormones and henceforth helps in controlling the severity of acne.

Also Read: Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

Psychological Effects of Acne

Acne has a profound social and psychological effect on its victim. The effects may or may not be necessarily connected to the clinical severity of the medical condition but even mild acne can bear significant psychological effects, leading to conditions such as:

  • Feeling Lethargic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Behavioural problems
  • Mood disturbances
  • Spontaneous crying
  • Feelings of unworthiness
  • Wakefulness

Prevention Tips for Acne

  • Use makeup sparingly
  • Keep your skin well moisturized
  • Try keeping your skin hydrated at all times
  • Wash your face thoroughly at least twice day
  • Exfoliation is important as you must remove dead skin cells and extra oil

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