What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition where follicles ( pores ) are clogged by sebum , a naturally occurring oil , & dead skin cells . It is characterized by non-inflammatory follicular papules or comedones and by inflammatory papules, pustules, and nodules in its more severe forms . Aside from scarring , its main effects are psychological , such as reduced self-esteem , depression or may eventually end up with suicide .
Who are mostly affected?
85 % of teenagers have acne, it is most common in adolescence mainly due to increase in male sex hormones which people of both genders tend to acquire during puberty . for most people acne diminishes over time & tend to disappear or decrease by their early twenties . however , some individuals continue to suffer from acne in their adulthood .
What areas are mostly affected?
The face & upper neck are the most commonly affected, but the chest, back & shoulders may have acne as well, this is due to the high concentration of sebaceous follicles in these regions.
What causes acne?
The reasons why some people get acne & some do not are not fully known. However, several factors are known to be linked to acne such as :
- Family /Genetic history.
- Hormonal activity , such as menstrual cycles & puberty , as the increase in male sex hormones ( androgens ) cause the sebaceous glands to get larger & make more sebum .
- Inflammation, skin irritation or scratching may activate inflammation.
- Stress, through increased output of hormones from the adrenal glands, as scientific research indicates that increased acne severity is associated with increased stress levels.
- Hyperactive sebaceous glands.
- Accumulation of dead skin cells that block or cover pores.
- Bacteria in the pores (P. acnes) which, in the presence of excess sebum, can cause inflammation of acne leading to inflammatory lesions.
- Some medications & chemical compounds can, also, cause acne.
- Diet: avoidance of junk food or any high fat & sugar content food is, also, recommended.
How is acne formed? & What are the types of acne?
There are two types of acne:
Microcomedones become non-inflamed skin blemishes called comedones--either a whitehead or a blackhead:
A papule occurs when there is a break in the follicular wall. White blood cells rush in and the pore becomes inflamed.
A pustule forms several days later when white blood cells make their way to the surface of the skin. This is what people usually refer to as a "zit" or a "pimple".
An inflamed lesion can sometimes completely collapse or explode, severely inflaming the surrounding skin, and sometimes engulfing neighboring follicles. These lesions are called nodules or cysts:
When a follicle breaks along the bottom, total collapse can occur, causing a large, inflamed bump that can be sore to the touch.
Sometimes a severe inflammatory reaction can result in very large pus filled lesions.
How can I get rid of my acne?
Acne treatments are believed to work in at least 4 different ways :
1 – keratolytic (exfoliating) action to remove dead skin cells & normalizing shedding of pores to prevent clogging of them .
2 – killing (P.acnes) bacteria which is responsible for the inflammation of acne .
3 – anti-inflammatory action to reduce pain & inflammation associated with acne .
4 – hormonal manipulation (for females) .