What are the causes of acne and how to treat it

                                               Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski 

What is Acne

Acne is a skin condition which occurs on the face, neck, back and shoulders. The medical term for this condition is Acne Vulgaris. They are pimples which erupt from skin pores that are clogged with excess oil secretions, dirt, and dead skin cells. They appear as black or white in color and are classified as bleak heads or white heads. The color of the blackheads is determined by skin pigment. They may be just small pimples that go away after a short time, while the most severe condition will last for longer and is very unsightly. They generally look swollen, inflamed and painful and many persons who experience this level of the condition are generally depressed, have low self-esteem and may have considerations of committing suicide. Because we take our appearance serious, this is a chronic situation.

Causes of Acne Vulgaris

As a general belief, acne is caused by genetics. The thought is, 80% of cases of acne in teens and young adults are inherited. The other 20% is caused by overproduction of oil by the skin, which gets trapped in the pores. Pores clogged with excess oil also get contaminated with dead dry cells which the body produces daily. Over time these clogged pores will get inflamed, so they are not able to breathe, and they get infected.  The production or presence of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes is generally the contributing factor to acne development. Puberty is generally the most productive time for acne. Some may have few eruptions, while others will be plagued by this un-needed condition. Dermatologists believe the production of testosterones during puberty is the main reason for this condition, which happens to both male and females.

Treatment for Acne Vulgaris

There are many treatments for acne which your dermatologist may prescribe.  They may prescribe a topical cream or ointment for the condition depending on the severity; which may be antibiotics or retinoids. They may prescribe benzoyl peroxide or silica acid which is applied as a cleansing agent as well as for soothing and lightly medicating the acne pimples. Dietary changes may be recommended as well; the reduction of sugars and fatty food consumed will help to lessen the condition for some affected persons.

Some cases of acne can be very severe. They may cause tiny craters or some dark and unsightly spots to remain on the skin after the episode have subsided. They generally are caused by excessive collagen or loss of collagen from the skin during the acne eruptions.  With this issue of collagen excess or loss, the healing process will leave the skin with these scars. They may be classified as:

  • Atrophic Scars
  • Icepick  Scars
  • Boxcar Scars
  • Rolling Scars

These classifications are based on the size and shape of the scars. There are Keloid scars that only occur in men and this is generally present on the back and shoulders.

Acne occurs in persons between the ages of 12-25. Some persons experience this condition later in life; those who do experience the condition are ones who never had acne during puberty.

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