There are very few certainties in life, and those certainties you can expect are generally unwelcome. One such certainty is acne. Commonly occurring during puberty, acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. and affects more than 50 million Americans each year. Acne is characterized by inflammation of the skin that presents itself in pimples, blackheads, small bumps and cysts. Though it typically appears on the face, acne can affect other areas of the body, such as the upper arms, back, neck and chest. If you live with acne, you know just how frustrating the condition can be. You may also wonder how you can get rid of it. You’re in the right place.
Before you can understand how acne develops, you must first understand the innerworkings of your skin. Human skin has pores that connect to oil glands beneath it via follicles, which are small sacs that produce and secrete liquid. The oil glands also produce a liquid called sebum, which is responsible for transporting dead skin cells through the follicles to the skin’s surface. A small hair grows out of the follicle and up through the skin.
Acne develops when the follicles, which are supposed to secrete sebum, get blocked. As skin cells, oil buildup and hair clump together, they form a plug. Eventually, that plug gets infected with bacteria, which ultimately results in swelling. The “pimple” occurs as the plug finally starts to break down and liquid is able to get to the surface.
That said, acne is primarily a hormonal condition that occurs when the male, or “androgenic” hormones, become hyperactive during a person’s teenage years. As these levels rise, the oil glands beneath the skin grow enlarged with sebum. Excessive sebum deteriorates the cellular walls of pores and perpetuates the growth of bacteria.
Hormones aren’t the only causes of acne though. Studies have linked certain other factors to the development of acne, including the following:
Now that you know what causes acne, you likely want to know how to treat it.
How you treat acne all depends on the severity of your case. For instance, a few pimples here and there are nothing to be worried about and can be treated with at-home remedies such as daily face-washing, shampooing regularly and wearing non-oil-based makeup products. You should also avoid picking at pimples, as this only aggravates them, and refrain from touching your face.
If your acne does not respond to at-home remedies, you may need to resort to medications. Only three types of drugs have proven to be effective in the treatment of acne: Benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics and retinoids. You may be able to find retinoids and benzoyl products over-the-counter, but you will need a prescription for antibiotics.
Additional acne treatments include hormone therapy, corticosteroid injections, dermabrasion and chemical peels.
If you live with acne, Hale Cosmeceuticals may have the products and tips you need to reduce the inflammation and achieve clear, glowing skin. Visit us today to learn more.