What Is Acne?

Acne is a diseased condition of the skin characterized by symptoms like blackheads and/or whiteheads (plugged pores), pimples, and nodules or cysts (deeper lumps). Acne mostly targets the skin of the face but it can, and does, occur elsewhere on the body like neck, shoulders, back, and upper arms. Most of the times, acne appears in teenagers and young people in their early twenties. However, people in their thirties and even forties can also suffer from acne. Severity of the condition varies from person to person.

Acne is caused by overly active sebaceous glands in the skin. These glands secrete an oily substance, called sebum, which lubricates the skin and roots of hair. The over activity of these glands is triggered by a sex hormone, called testosterone, present in both men and women (but more in men than women). Sebum is produced in excessive amount by sebaceous glands in acne patients. The dead skin cells lining the hair follicles are not discarded effectively. Hence the follicles are clogged up and sebum builds up in follicles. The result is the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. Acne may stop at this stage. In some people it gets more serious when Propionibacterium acne (a type of bacteria) starts growing in the clogged follicles containing sebum. These bacteria use sebum as food and produce harmful chemicals in the skin that cause redness and spots. In more severe cases, cysts develop beneath the skin surface, which upon rupturing spread the infection to nearby tissues. The result is scarring of the skin.

Different treatment methods are used for relieving acne symptoms. These mainly include prescription medication, including both oral and topical medicines and home treatment. The most commonly used medication for treating acne is Benzoyl peroxide. If it fails to bring relief, other oral and topical medicines are tried. Topical treatments include the use of azelaic acid (sold by the name Skinoren), retinoids (Adapalene, etc.), and antibiotic lotions. Azelaic acid is an alternative chemical for benzoyl peroxide but it does not cause the skin to sore like benzoyl peroxide. Retinoids are medicines based on Vitamin A. They are rubbed into the affected area once or twice daily. Antibiotic lotions control the acne-causing bacteria.

Oral treatment may be in the form of antibiotic tablets, some types of contraceptives (for women), or oral retinoids (like Roaccutane). However, Roaccutane should not be used by pregnant women. Consult a physician to find out more about both prescription medications and over the counter drugs to prevent any serious side effects.

More Articles

Manly Skin Care

... on your face. These will strip your more sensitive facial skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and irritated. Remember that you need to wash your skin twice every day-one in the morning to remove the oils and debris from sleeping and again before you go to bed at night in order to remove the dirt ...

Read Full Article  

What Every Woman Is Dying To Know: The Cellulite Mystery

... cellulite. Cellulite is not a medical concern. That is, it won't literally kill you. However, many women feel like their cellulite is the end of the world. Fortunately, modern medical procedures are becoming available to help end cellulite's terrible reign. Women are finding it easier to get the appearance ...

Read Full Article  

Sunshine And Happiness: Understanding The UV Index

... harmful as what you see on television weather reports. That's not to say you shouldn't wear sunscreen at all times, but you shouldn't worry about the sun so much as to not go outside at all. The sun can be very healthy for us as well. The UV index reads the sun's effect on a numerical scale, with zero ...

Read Full Article  

Tattoo Troubles - Tips For Removing Or Covering Up Unwanted Tattoos

... will darken with this laser procedure. When they say that tattoos are forever, they aren't kidding! If you are lucky enough to have a tattoo that can be removed, selective thermolysis can help you do so. Removing your tattoo will, of course, do some damage to your skin no matter how careful you are. It ...

Read Full Article  

Some Common Skin Problems

... pimples and blemishes. So, what can you do to combat this unwelcome intruder? First, it is recommended that you wash your skin once or twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Avoid cleansers that contain harsh acids, as this will only irritate your skin further. Speaking of irritation, it is important that ...

Read Full Article