Acne is a condition of the skin that leads to pimples, blackheads and plugged pores that can occur anywhere on the face, chest, back, neck and shoulders. There are more than 40 million people who suffer from this condition is the US and over 85% of all people will experience acne to some degree in their life. This condition is most common in adolescents during puberty, but it is possible to suffer from it well into adulthood.
There are three main causes of acne, the most common of which is an overproduction of oil that occurs when the oil glands in the skin become enlarged. Acne can also occur as the result of oil blocking the hair follicles or the growth of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Acne outbreaks occur when the body sheds the skin cells as part of its normal cleansing and skin renewal process and the overproduction of oils by the glands cause the cells to clog the pores without being able to completely reach the surface of the skin.
Acne can range from Grade 1, which is considered a mild case, all the way up to Grade 4, which is the most severe. A dermatologist will usually do a complete examination of your skin in order to determine exactly which grade and type of acne you have.
This condition is a normal part of nearly everyone’s life, but there are ways to get rid of acne. The most common means of treating mild acne is with topical products that contain one of several different types of acne medications.
Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the most common over the counter treatments for acne, and it works by killing the bacteria and breaking down whiteheads and blackheads to clear them away. This medication also speeds up the skin shedding process to reduce the amount of bacteria present.
- Salicylic Acid also breaks down black and white heads and also slows the cell shedding process within the follicles.
- Resorcinol is another acne treatment that breaks down whiteheads and blackheads
- Retin-A is an acid containing agent that clears the blockages from the pores to aid in faster healing.
These over the counter medications are usually found in the form of creams, lotions, gels or face cleaning cloths. The choice in which type of preparation is used is generally a personal one, but those with sensitive skin should typically stick with lotions or creams. If you have oily skin, alcohol-based gels are usually the best choice due to the naturally drying properties of the alcohol.
When choosing which acne medication to use, it is best to start with the lowest strength products and increase the strength if there
are no results. Acne medications often cause burning, redness or irritation to the skin when they are first used, but this typically goes away with continued use.
If you have severe acne, a dermatologist may be required to clear up acne. Dermatologists may use topical medications that contain many of the same ingredients as the over the counter medications, but often contain stronger medications as well. In some cases antibiotics may be prescribed in addition to the topical treatments to reduce inflammation and help clear up the bacteria present. Some severe cases of acne may include cysts, which are treated using corticosteroids to prevent them from rupturing.
There are several things that can help prevent acne breakouts from getting worse or recurring. Acne prone skin should be cleansed no more than twice per day with a mild soap and warm water. The skin should be cleaned gently, without scrubbing. Acne sufferers should also refrain from touching the face or allowing phone receivers to come in contact with the face.
It is also important not to attempt to pop pimples. Squeezing pimples causes the infection to get pushed further into the skin, which results in increased redness and swelling. Acne sufferers should also make sure to only use non–comedogenic makeupt and it should always be removed before going to bed.
There are many ways to get rid of acne and prevent further outbreaks. Acne is an unfortunate part of life, but there is help out there to get rid of this condition.