Acne is a most common skin condition that occurs due to the blocking of oil glands present on the face, trunk, back, and shoulders. Most commonly, acne can be seen as blackheads, whiteheads (mild acne), red pimples, puss-filled lesions (moderate acne), cysts, abscesses, sinus tracts, and ulcerations (severe acne). Most commonly seen in teenagers and nowadays can also be seen in adults. It is due to the excess production of oils and plugging of hair follicles and the presence and activity of the Propionibacterium acnes. Certain things may trigger or worsen acne:
There are many medications available for mild acne, like face washes that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and topical creams like retinoids and antibiotics. For moderate acne, oral antibiotics, oral retinoids, along with topical medication can be taken. For severe acne, we have to evaluate hormonal imbalances, congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Nowadays, there are a lot of treatments available for all stages of acne, like-
- Hormonal changes: Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormone changes during midlife, particularly in women, can lead to breakouts too.
- Diet: Studies indicate that consuming certain foods — including carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, bagels, and chips — may worsen acne. Further study is needed to examine whether people with acne would benefit from following specific dietary restrictions.
- Stress: Usually, stress does not cause any acne issues, but if you already have acne, stress can definitely worsen.
Simple remedies for mild acne include:
- Chemical peelings- salicylic acid is available in different concentrations, which acts like comedolytic and anti-inflammatory.
- Glycolic peels- which help for clearing acne marks.
- Micro dermabrasions- it’s a procedure where a superficial layer of the skin is removed with a microdermabrasion machine. This helps in improving scars formed due to acne.
- Micro-needling- it’s a procedure done with derma rollers for acne scars, where multiple needles are rolled on the face to improve the scars.
- Lasers- different kinds of lasers are available for scar revisions.
Acne is a very common condition that needs proper attention and care for the prevention of severe consequences. Therefore, moderate and severe acne cases need to be evaluated, and a Dermatologist must carry out procedures.
- Cleansing your skin daily with mild soap to remove excess oil and dirt present.
- Shampooing regularly and also keeping the shampoo away from your face.
- Water-based makeup is most preferable or labeled “noncomedogenic”.
- Squeezing or bursting of pimples are to be highly avoided to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- A healthy diet with a minimally refined sugar diet is to be taken.
- Try to reduce the amount of stress.
Dr. Mrunalini Valasani, MD
Dermatology (Skin specialist), Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA