Acne: Persistent Whiteheads, Blackheads & Pimples

Acne is an inflammatory condition which typically affects the skin for those going through puberty and in their teenage years. It can, however, affect adults as well.

When hair follicles get filled with oil and dead skin, acne results and there can be inflammation as well.

Acne can occur on anywhere on the body including in particular one's face and back. At any age, it can be not only a physical problem but a psychological one, playing havoc on one’s confidence and self-esteem.

What Causes Acne?

The oily substance that causes acne is called sebum. Sebum in and of itself is a natural and necessary substance. It lubricates the hair and skin. However, an excess of the oil may contribute to acne.

When excess dead skin cells also combine with the sebum, it forms a plug at the end of the hair follicle. These plugs are referred to as clogged pores. When a clogged pore comes into contact with bacteria, it will result in some form of acne.

Mythical Causes

Of course, it makes sense to eat a healthy diet for a variety of reasons, but an occasional piece of cake or serving of fries is not going to cause acne. Additionally, dirt does not cause acne. Some dirt and bacteria are healthy, washing your face or showering more than twice a day may do more harm than good.

Manifestations of Acne

Acne manifests itself in several different ways. Whiteheads are plugged pores. Blackheads are open plugged pores which turn black when exposed to air. Papules or pimples are red and tender bumps. Nodules are solid and painful lumps beneath the skin. Cystic lesions are nodules beneath the skin which are filled with pus.

Age, Heredity, & Hormones Affect the Growth of Acne

Certainly, both age and heredity may contribute to an individual having acne or the severity of such acne. Hormonal shifts during puberty, pregnancy, and even menopause may also contribute to acne. Greasy topical products such as lotions, creams, and make-up should be avoided. Rubbing and friction against the skin may encourage acne. Stress can exacerbate hormones thereby making acne worse.

What Does Acne Treatment Entail?

Practicing good hygiene is important. There are many over-the-counter products in which to cleanse and treat the skin. Stress can increase acne. Exercise and yoga are a couple of good ways to manage stress.

Medical treatment is sometimes necessary. If acne is out of control, it is best to see a dermatologist or dermatology provider. They may recommend cosmetic treatments like a chemical peel or acne scar revision. Alternatively, they may prescribe oral and topical treatments. If you have any adverse side-effects such as swelling of the eyes or face or tightening of the throat, stop using the product and inform your doctor.