Overview of Acne
Acne is a common condition that affects the population around the world. It refers to an inflammatory skin condition that is chronic in nature. It is common during puberty with the activation of the sebaceous glands, but it can occur at any age. While this is not a dangerous condition, it does leave scars on the skin. There are varied types of acne that exist, such as whiteheads, blackheads and cysts. Mostly people experience it between the age group of 12 to 24 and it usually appears on the face but can also include chest and back. Acne is persistent as it can pop up one after the other, and depends on treatment for control.
Causes of Acne
Our skin has pores that are connected to the oil glands present under our skin. Follicles are small sacs responsible for producing and secreting liquid, they connect these glands to the pores. The glands produce Sebum, which is an oily liquid. It is the carrier of dead skin cells from follicles to skin. Through every follicle, a small hair grows out of the skin. There are many reasons that cause all the different forms of acne. Some of them are as follows:
- Excessive oil
The follicles get blocked, thereby leading to an excessive oil build-up under the skin. These often cause pimple break-outs.
When hair sebum and skin cells clump together into a plug and is followed by getting infected with bacteria and swelling. The bacteria are known as Propioni bacterium (P. acnes) lives on the skin and is one of the major reasons for the infection. The frequency and severity of the acne is dependent on the strain of the bacteria present.
Androgen levels are one of the major reasons for acne. It is a type of hormone which increases as humans hit puberty. In women, the same hormone gets converted to estrogen. As the level of androgen increases, the oil glands under the skin begin to grow further. This leads to production of more sebum. This further causes the breakdown of cellular walls present in the pores, and the growth of bacteria.
Another reason for acne breakout is genetics. If anyone in your family had acne, the chances of you inheriting it are higher. Especially if both your parents have acne, you are more likely to have it at an early age.
It is often fairly easy for a General Physician to look at your skin and diagnose acne. It involves examination of your chest, back, face and other places for sore nodules or blackheads. However, the severity of the acne determines the kind of treatment that will be suggested to you. The severity depends can be categorised into –
- Mild - These mostly include blackheads and whiteheads with a few pustules and papules. These usually don’t hurt much and there isn’t a lot of swelling around the lumps.
- Moderate - These have a higher number and more widespread blackheads, whiteheads and pustules.
- Severe - This includes a large number of pustules and papules. Furthermore, these can be painful, and in a lot of cases leave scars on the skin.
A proper treatment for acne works by reducing the oil production and pumping up skin cell turnover. It also includes fighting the bacteria to reduce inflammation and thereby preventing scarring. Most prescriptions show results between 4- 8 weeks and chances are that initially the skin gets worse than getting better. For the acne to completely clear and skin to become better, it may take a longer time.
The General Physician prescribes medicine depending on the severity of the acne. In cases where there is a moderate case of acne, over-the-counter medicines that contain benzoyl peroxide. It is an antiseptic that aids reduction of the bacteria on the surface. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that provide instant relief. Some of them include –
- Topical antibiotics - These help in killing the bacteria and that are infecting the plugged hair follicles. Usually available as lotions or gels.
- Azelaic acid - This is often used in case other options like Benzoyl Peroxide don’t work. It gets rid of the dead skin and thereby kills the bacteria. This is also available in gel or cream forms.
- Antibiotic tablets - They are also called oral antibiotics and are usually consumed win combination with other topical treatment. This is used in cases of severe acne. A specific class of antibiotics is usually prescribed by the General Physician except in certain cases. For example, breast-feeding women another antibiotic is prescribed. It usually takes 6 weeks before one can see the result of the treatment.
However, in case of severe acne or in cases where over-the-counter medicine doesn’t work, proper medication along with an expert treatment is needed. This happens when you have a large number of pustules and papules, swelling and you are at risk of scarring.
In a lot of cases where women are involved, hormonal therapies are suggested by the experts. This is usually suggested when the acne increases during menstruation or is directly a result of other hormonal conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Acne can have a serious impact on your life in more than one way. It not only causes discomfort and pain but also increases the chances of leaving a permanent scar on your body forever. This further impacts your confidence level and becomes a bigger problem to deal with. This is why opting for only the best for treatment is important. Max Healthcare has a specialized department of dermatology that provides treatment for skin diseases. An expert team of dermatologists ensure that your acne is treated with utmost efficiency. Furthermore, they provide specialized treatments after carefully diagnosing your condition and keeping in mind important factors such as age, gender, and other health conditions. They also provide feasible options to take proper care of your skin once the acne is completely gone and a skincare regimen to avoid breakouts in the future. With expertise in hand and a specialized approach, it treats every patient with utmost care.