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Acne: What are the causes and how to stop it?

  • Posted on- Nov 07, 2015
  • 393 Views

Acne is the most common skin condition that people experience. Most people develop acne to some degree, but it primarily affects teenagers undergoing hormonal changes. Acne might be mild (few, occasional pimples), moderate (inflammatory papules), or severe (nodules and cysts). Scarring can occur. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition.

Acne is primarily a hormonal condition driven by male hormones, which typically become active during the teenage years. Sensitivity to such hormones, combined with surface (skin) bacteria and lipids (fatty acids) within sebaceous (oil) glands, yields acne. Common sites for acne are the face, chest, shoulders, and back - the sites of oil glands.

Acne lesions include whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules (small bumps, often with scarring), nodules, and cysts, often followed by scarring.

Although acne is essentially a normal physiologic occurrence, certain conditions might aggravate the disease.

  • Fluctuating hormone levels around the time of menses (women)
  • Manipulating (picking/prodding) acne lesions
  • Occlusive clothing and headgear, such as hats and sports helmets
  • Air pollution and certain weather conditions, especially high humidity

How to stop acne?

Seeing as acne affects more than 80 percent of the general population, it can be difficult but not impossible to treat so that you can have clear skin free of blemishes or at least keeping breakouts to a minimum. Most of us like looking good and dealing with acne can prevent this from happening which is why severe acne can rob a sufferer of their self-esteem. Acne eruptions can cause one to hide away and not interact with people because you may feel like other people are judging you negatively because of the acne. If acne is a big problem, here are some tips on how to stop acne and have clear skin:

Proper Cleansing: Keeping the face clean with an oil free cleanser is sometimes all you need or a step in the right direction especially in cases of mild acne. Washing the face more than twice a day may be too taxing on the skin though causing it to dry out which then causes the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive producing excessive amounts of sebum or oil. Do use a gentle hand too. Being overly aggressive to get your skin clear and free of oil by using rough wash cloths, scrubs, etc, can make an already bad situation worse. So be gentle with your skin. It is not your enemy even if it may feel like it at times.

Benzyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Sulphur, etc: These are generally over the counter medications that can be used quite effectively for acne treatment and are usually included in cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masks, etc, to help kill the acne causing bacteria as well as normalize excessive oil production. Some of these ingredients though such as salicylic acid and sulphur may be too irritating and drying for certain people's skin and may actually make acne worse.

Prescription Medications: For moderate acne that may not respond to the above methods, eliminating this type of acne may require prescription antibiotics applied topically or taken orally to fight infection associated with acne development. If antibiotics (tetracycline, doxycycline, etc) fail to work, using several vitamin A derivatives known as retinoid may be the next step. The common vitamin A derivatives used for acne treatment include retinoid such as isotretinoin. Others include Differin and so on and so forth. These retinoids are usually recommended in severe cases of acne such as cystic acne that is unresponsive to other treatment methods.

Birth Control: When adult acne becomes an issue for many women, one of the causes is usually fluctuations in hormone levels. This is another reason that some women report breakouts around the time of their menstrual cycle. In such cases, the use of certain birth control pills is one of the best ways on how to stop acne. Low dose oestrogen birth control pills can help to regulate oestrogen levels to help balance hormones. Other pills can also be used that target various other hormones in the body to help balance hormone levels and thereby reduce or eliminate hormone triggered acne.

Stress: Hormone levels can also be affected by stress levels, if you suffer from chronic stress, it may lead to hormonal imbalances which may lead to acne as well as many other more dangerous effects of chronic stress. Stress is normal but if you live with chronic stress day in and day out, your body and your skin will suffer so look for ways to properly manage stress.

Hormone therapy might be helpful for some women with acne, especially for those with signs and symptoms (irregular periods, thinning hair) of androgen (male hormone) excess. The hormone therapy consists of low-dose oestrogen and progesterone (birth control pills).