acne help

An Acne Overview

85% of people included in the age bracket of 12 to 24 are likely to suffer from any forms acne. Others may experience intermittent and serious forms well up to their forties. However, this skin disease is neither blood related or contagious. Notably, acne is a universal skin disease which manifests in all genders, ages and races.

This skin disorder is the resultant of over-induced sebaceous glands (or the skin’s oil glands) and blocked pilosebaceous units imbedded deep beneath the skin and blocked skin pores. Primarily, acne develops from blocked pilosebaceous canals. If these canals are obstructed by hardened sebum and dead cells, the combination of which may accumulate and block the ejection of dirt and body wastes; thus providing breeding grounds for Propionibacterium acnes or the P. acnes in the follicle walls or hair pores. These acne-infecting bacteria will attract white blood cells. The area then gets inflamed due to the reaction of the body to the activities eventually leading to the growth of acne.

This skin disorder comes in many forms. It is basically categorized into three:

  • Whiteheads and blackheads or closed and open clogs respectively.
  • Mild inflammatory acne which includes papules and pustules.
  • Cystic acnes or nodules.

Moreover, acne may come in many types, each possessing their own characteristics. Some types may be inter-related and some have their independent origins.

  • Comedo- or microcomedo, the smallest type of lesion)
  • Pustules- are pus-filled, usually yellowish in colour.
  • Nodules- are the same with pustules only varying in size and the degree of swelling.
  • Papules- are typically inflamed pimples.
  • Cysts- are pus filled and have sac-like formation. This is the most severe form of acne.

There are other forms of acne like:

  • Acne vulgaris-the most common form which comprise of blackheads and whiteheads. Normally found around the shoulder, the surface of the face and the forehead.
  • Infantile acne- which occurs to infants or new born babies.
  • Acne rosacea- acne growing on the skin surface of adults, especially middle-aged women.
  • Scalp folliculitis- or acne that manifest on the scalp and around the hairline.
  • Perioral dermatitis- which is more prevalent in women, characterized by small pustules and papules.
  • Acne conglobata- or acne vulgaris in its sever form.
  • Acne fulminans- usually characterized with systematic symptoms.

Acne is a disease that cannot be fully cured. However, there had been developed treatments to decrease the skin’s vulnerability to acne infection. These may composed by the following methods of treatments:

  • Simple treatments or those that can be prepared at home and are usually available over the counter (soap and water, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and alcohol)
  • Topical treatments or those that are applied on the external layers of the skin.
  • Oral drugs or drugs that can be taken systematically, these are usually composed of antibiotics (like spironolactone, minocycline and doxycycline treatments).

There had not been any tangible causes of acne for most forms. Nevertheless, several studies were made as to determine some of the causes which may trigger the production of acne. These include the following:

  • Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes (the acne-infecting bacteria)
  • Psychological stress (also, emotional stress)
  • Unhealthy diet (basically, the basis may be the diet followed in the West which are fat-enriched)
  • Improperly functioning digestive system
  • Hormonal imbalances and changes ( which may be the product of the digestive system reacting to some food items)
  • Cosmetics (especially those that are oil-based)

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