All You Want to Know About Acne

Acne: What is it?

Acne is the most common skin problem, almost all the people have to face it at some point of life. Acne develops at the time of puberty due to hormonal activity. Acne lesions develop due to increased sebum production in sebaceous glands which are linked to hair follicles. Acne is most common at face, neck, chest, back and anogenital area. There are holocrine cells in the sebaceous glands which secrete fatty acids, wax esters, triglycerides and sterole which is sebum.

Changes in Skin at Acne Lesion:

At acne lesion, some changes in skin take place. There is increase in sebum secretion, Propionibacterium acnes bacteria in duct get multiply, amount of free fatty acids increase, keratin lining of sebaceous duct gets thick and blackheads or comedones form. There is inflammation around sebaceous glands.

Why Do Acne Occur? 

There are many factors which lead to acne formation. At the time of puberty, Size of sebaceous glands increases due to androgenic hormones. This is the reason for increase in amount of sebum produced. In women with acne, probably there is increase in androgen sensitivity. When more sebum is produced, it clogs the skin pores because it is not able to come out. This sebum gets mixed with dead skin cells and makes a cluster in the pores. It gets enlarged due to accumulation of this debris. It plugs the skin pores and acne causing bacteria which is already present on the skin, multiply after getting right conditions for breeding. This activity of bacteria gives rise to severe acne and our body immune system reacts by sending antibodies which create reddening and inflammation in the acne lesion.

Which factors Aggravate Acne Condition?

Acne condition is aggravated by many factors. Let us consider some common factors causing this. Fluid retention which leads to increased hydration and swelling of duct leads to premenstrual occurrence of acne. Acne gets worse due to sweating. It is found that some foods like chocolate, nuts, coffee or aerated drinks makes the acne worse. Women who use comedogenic oils for many years get cosmetic acne lesions. Oral contraceptives and antiepileptic drugs mostly cause acne.

Types OF Acne:

Acne can be acne vulgaris, infantile acne, severe acne or occupational acne. Acne vulgaris is mostly seen in puberty and more common in boys than in girls. Infantile acne is seen in newborn babies and affects face only. It clears up on its own after 2-3 months. Severe acne can be in the form of Acne conglobata, Pyoderma faciale, and Gram negative folliculitis. Occupational acne is the result of chemicals or oils used during one’s profession.

Acne Treatment:

In most of the cases, acne heals up itself after some time with minimal or no scarring. Acne is not an infectious condition. Most of the people do not pay much attention to acne in positive sense when acne is not very severe and not requiring medical attention. If you do not feel conscious about acne, other people are less likely to take notice of your skin condition.

Follow a simple skin care routine to prevent acne formation. First place hot wet flannel over the face and then gently rub off with fingers. To control greasiness, you can rinse it with 10 times, diluted solution of Savlon with water. They help dissolve the keratin plug of the comedone. But avoid using it excessively; it can cause dryness on the skin.

Skin Exfoliation:

Exfoliate your skin to remove the dead cells and unplug the clogged pores. It can be done mechanically with help of an abrasive cloth or a liquid scrub. You can do it chemically also. Salicylic Acid and Glycolic acid are most common chemical exfoliating agents which help to peel top layer of the skin.

Consult doctor for severe acne conditions. He will prescribe oral medicines along with topical applications.

Some Popular Home Remedies Which Help treat Acne:

Mix 1 tsp of sandalwood powder with 1 tsp of turmeric powder and make a paste of it with milk. Apply it on the face where acne lesions are present and wash it after it is dry. Mix 1 tsp of cinnamon powder with 3 tsp of honey and apply it overnight. Wash it in the morning. There are many other home remedies which are very effective yet without any side effect.

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