Acne

What is it?

Acne is a skin condition that results in whiteheads, blackheads, and red, inflamed growths cause by swelling and inflammation. (Pimples or zits) It is common on the face and shoulders and can also appear on the arms, legs, and buttocks.

What causes it?

Acne is caused by the clogging of pores which are tiny holes at the surface of the skin. Pores open into follicles which contain oil glands. Oil glands help remove old skin cells and lubricate skin. If a gland makes too much oil, the pore can become blocked resulting in the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and inflammatory cells. The top of the blockage is where you see a whitehead or blackhead. If it breaks open, the debris inside swells and forms red bumps.

Triggers:

  • Hormonal changes (Ex: menstrual periods, stress)
  • Greasy or oily cosmetic and hair products
  • Drugs (Ex: steroids, testosterone, estrogen)
  • High levels of humidity and sweating


Types of Acne:

  • Blackheads- yellow or blackish bumps filled with plugs of sebum and sloughed-off cells that have undergone a chemical reaction resulting in the oxidation of melanin. This gives the material in the follicle the typical black color.
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  • Whiteheads- follicles that are are the same as blackheads but have only a very small opening to the skin surface. Because air cannot reach the follicle, the material stays white.

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  • Cysts- puss filled lesions that can be painful and cause scarring
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  • Papule- occurs when there is a break in the follicular wall. White blood cells rush in and the pore becomes inflamed.
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  • Pustule- is inflamed, and appears as a red circle with a white or yellow center.
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  • Nodule- large, hard bumps under the skin's surface caused when a follicle breaks along the bottom and collapses.
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How does one control and get rid of it?

  • Drink a lot of water
  • Exercise (make sure to wash face after wards)
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Wash your face twice a day with a gentle skin cleanser
  • Do not pop pimples
  • Do not touch face
  • If severe, one can use trial and error to find acne products that work for them