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All about Acne

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EXPERTS SPEAK

The skin has pores and each pore opens to a follicle, which contains a hair and a sebaceous gland. It is through these pores that the lipids or sebum (secreted by the sebaceous glands present along the hair follicles) is released onto the surface of the skin. Sebum helps in maintaining the natural skin barrier of the skin by protecting against invading microbes.

ACNE is a common skin condition in which sebaceous glands become overactive and produce too much oil; the pores tend to get blocked because of this excess oil. Which in turn causes dirt and dead skin cells to build up. The blockage is called a plug or a comedone. If the top of the plug is white, it is called a whitehead and if the top of the plug is dark, it is called a blackhead. Once the plug forms, bacteria called P. Acnes starts to grow in the follicles. The bacteria then sets off a cascade of inflammation. The plug becomes red and bigger and ultimately becomes a pimple. When the inflammation doesn’t stop, then the pimple becomes even bigger and goes deeper into the skin, ultimately becoming a cyst.

This is why acne should be treated as early as possible to prevent the formation of these deep cysts that can leave scars and marks.


MUST KNOW FACTS ABOUT ACNE

  1. Adolescent/teenage acne is common as during this stage as the body is developing with surge in hormones. Though the incidence of teenage acne is more in girls than boys but it is more severe in boys. Also acne is no more limited to teens; the incidence is increasing in later age because of changing lifestyle and the higher incidence of hormonal problems.
  2. Acne is a complicated condition hence it requires persistent holistic approach (medication, hygiene, diet, skincare, lifestyle etc) for its management. Most acne medications oral as well as topical cause dryness of the skin therefore a good skincare regime is equally important. Also these medications make your skin more sensitive towards sun hence protecting your skin from sun exposure is paramount.
  3. Triggers that can aggravate acne-
    • Environment change: heat, humidity, weather, pollution, travelling etc
    • Diet: a diet rich in certain carbohydrates (lots of sugar and white flour) and dairy products esp. low-fat milk.
    • Lifestyle: smoking, lack of sleep, excessive spa treatments
    • Certain medications: steroids, hormone therapies etc
    • Stress: Stress can worsen acne by leading to a release of inflammatory chemicals called neuropeptides and hormonal changes. Incorporate regular yoga in your schedule.
    • Skincare regime: using skincare products having irritants and comedogenic ingredients.
    • Cosmetics/make-up: excessive use of make-up, using comedogenic cosmetics, sharing cosmetics, using old cosmetics, using un-clean brushes or make-up accessories. Hair-styling products that have comedogenic ingredients.
  4. It is important to consult and seek advice from a dermatologist; without any delay; if you are suffering from acne because it is very important to identify which type & stage of acne do you have. If treated timely you can prevent severe stages of acne and minimize the risk of permanent scarring.
  5. Avoid salicylic acid based products if you are pregnant or lactating.

TYPES, CAUSES and TREATMENT OPTIONS

Click to Read in Details: TYPES, CAUSES and TREATMENT OF ACNE 

Click to Fill Our ‘Skincare Query Form’ to Get Solutions from Our DERMATOLOGISTS/ SKIN EXPERTS


IF YOU want to resolve and get rid of your skin concern (Acne); then instead of a Basic Skincare Regime; you would require a CUSTOMIZED SKINCARE REGIME (containing specific skincare products that can target to resolve your concerns) along with correct skincare guidance. 

CLICK TO GET A COMPLETE SKINCARE REGIME CUSTOMIZED (Specifically for your Skin Type, Skin Concerns & Needs); BY OUR DERMATOLOGISTS/SKIN EXPERTS


COMMON QUERIES- RESOLVED

Q1. Can acne rebound or return after treatment?

ANS: Yes it can hence after the treatment one needs to follow a maintenance treatment to prevent acne from flaring up again. This maintenance treatment may span up to 3-5 years depending upon the type or stage of acne and skin conditions of the individual. Maintenance treatment is usually with either benzoyl peroxide or a topical retinoid. These can both be used indefinitely. The dose used to prevent spots from returning is often lower than that used to treat acne.

Q2. I have been applying medicated creams prescribed by my dermatologist since a week but i have not seen any improvement.

ANS: Any topical medication cream/ gel requires minimum 4-6 weeks to show its effect this is because skin takes time to adjust with any new medication. Also acne requires persistent dedicated approach.

Q3. Is it a good option to use spot treatments for acne?

ANS: The life cycle of a pimple starts 2 to 3 weeks before it reaches the skin’s surface—the actual blemish you see is the last stop in this process. This means that if you’re using a spot treatment, you’re really only treating the symptom of the problem. Therefore, it is a good temporary solution but one needs to target the very pore where eruption has taken place and more importantly the root cause of acne. Many brands offer spot acne-treatment options, some are good for curbing or stopping the pimple to flare up further but it is equally important to find out the underlying cause for the breakout and stop it in the first stage itself before it flares up. The only way to enjoy a consistently clear complexion is to stop pimples from breaking out in the first place. Also if treated timely you can prevent severe stages of acne and minimize the risk of permanent scarring.

Q4. Acne will go away on its own, so it doesn’t need to be treated?

ANS: Well one or two occasional pimples can go away without any intervention but acne is a complex condition and should not be ignored. It is important to consult and seek advice from a dermatologist; without any delay; if you are suffering from acne because it is very important to identify which type & stage of acne do you have. If treated timely you can prevent severe stages of acne and minimize the risk of permanent scarring.

Q5. Can i treat acne at home with home remedies and non-prescription over-the-counter treatments?

ANS: Well it all depends on what type of acne you have, which stage is it currently in and what is the underlying cause for your acne. Home remedies are fine if you occasionally (at times before periods or if you have been travelling etc) have a pimple or two and which subsides without major inflammation (filled with pus). But if you have pimples quite frequently and they have inflammation you must see a dermatologist. Also remember many non-prescription over-the-counter treatments have underlying side effects (skin sensitivity, excessive dryness, harmful for the developing foetus in pregnant women) and therefore should only be taken under medical supervision. Even acne based skincare products cause dryness of the skin hence use them wisely and only if it is required.

Q6. If i maintain a good hygiene i will not get acne?

ANS: Many people feel like acne means that the person does not maintain a good hygiene level. Acne is a complex skin disorder that can surface because of many underlying causes. Though it is always good to keep yourself clean and maintaining a good hygiene is important if you are prone to acne but this does not guarantee that you will not get acne.

Q7. Is acne contagious?

ANS: Acne is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person with touch. Whilst bacteria have a role to play in acne development, it cannot be transmitted from person to person. It is, however, not a good idea to share towels or pillows with someone else for general hygiene reasons.

Q8. Is it a good idea to use toothpastes for clearing pimples?

ANS: READ OUT TIP- DEBUNK THE MYTH- Toothpastes are a quick fix remedy for pimples

Q9. Using natural ingredients is better for skin than synthetic ingredients?

ANS: There is no factual basis or scientific legitimacy for this. In fact natural ingredients are more difficult to preserve against microbial contamination which in-turn can cause acne or skin infections. Also if natural products are not processed correctly they can have few skin irritants alongside the main ingredient. Therefore again all boils down to the formulation of a product. If the formulation of a skincare product is good and stable; then the nature of the origin (natural or synthetic) of ingredients holds little weight.

Q10. Neem is the best solution for acne?

ANS: Neem does have mild antibacterial properties and can help for occasional pimples but acne requires stronger treatments. It can be a useful ingredient if used alongside specific acne treatment.  Acne needs anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and preventive care to ensure that it does not worsen or turn into marks or scars. So always start your acne treatment with a certified dermatologist.

*Disclaimer : Result may vary from person to person.