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What You Need To Know About Acne

Introduction

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles become blocked with oil and dead skin cells. This may cause the follicle wall to bulge and produce a whitehead (closed plugged pores) or may open to the surface and darken; causing a blackhead (open plugged pores) or a Pimple, which is a raised red spot with a white center that develops when blocked hair follicles become infected with bacteria.  Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders because these areas of skin have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. Acne is most common among teenagers, however, can affect people of all ages.

Causes and Risk Factors

Some factors that may cause acne include;

•  Excess oil production.

•  Hair follicles clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

•  Bacterial infection of the affected skin

•  Excess activity of some hormones like testosterone

Risk factors for acne include;

•  Age – Acne tends to be commoner in teenagers and young people then

•  Hormonal changes – Common in teenagers (boys and girls) and women.

•  Medications – People using steroid or lithium-containing medications.

•  Genetic factors –  If one or both parents had acne, you're likely to develop it, too.

•  Greasy or oily substances: You may develop acne where your skin comes into contact with oily lotions and creams or with grease in a work area, such as a kitchen.

•  Increased friction or pressure on your skin.

•  Stress doesn't cause acne, however, if you have acne already, it may make it worse.

Symptoms

•  Symptoms include pain, tenderness, and/or erythema. Systemic symptoms are most often absent. However, in severe cases, there may be fever, joint pain, and general malaise.

•  Symptoms vary depending on the severity, however, regardless of the severity; acne may scar the skin and have a psychological impact (Low self-esteem, Loss of confidence and Depression) in some patients.

Diagnosis

In most cases, a dermatologist or other health care provider can diagnose acne by examining the affected skin and rule out other skin disorders.

Treatment

•  Many over-the-counter treatment options that can be applied directly to the affected skin are available, including lifestyle changes, medications, and medical procedures. However, Acne can be persistent and heal slowly. Just when one begins to go away, others seem to crop up – especially when they are popped. Never pop acne.

•  It is very important to be patient with the treatment. While some treatments may work immediately, you may not see widespread improvement for several months.

•  Use caution in using too many acne products at once as this can cause dry skin. In response, your pores can create more sebum, then leading to more acne issues.

•  Some birth control pills can also be used for acne in women.

•  Diets low in sugar and avoidance of “junk foods,” has been suggested to help control acne.

•  It helps to talk with your doctor to confirm whether any bumps or swelling are actually the results of acne. This is because there are several skin conditions that may cause symptoms similar to those with acne.

Prevention

You can try to avoid or control mild acne with by taking these few steps:

•  Wash the part affected with a gentle cleanser. Use your hands to wash your face with a mild soap and warm water. However, please note that excessive washing and scrubbing may irritate the skin.

•  If you tend to develop acne around your hairline, shampoo your hair every day. And be gentle if you're shaving affected skin.

•  Avoid skin irritants that can worsen acne.

•  Avoid oily or greasy substances on affected areas.

•  Protect your skin from the sun. Stay out of the sun as much as possible.

•  Avoid friction or pressure on your skin.

•  Avoid touching, picking or squeezing affected areas of the skin. Doing so can trigger more acne or lead to infection or scarring.

•  Shower after strenuous activities. Oil and sweat on your skin can lead to breakouts.

•  Certain types of makeup may be useful to mask acne. In those with oily skin, a water-based product is often preferred.

•  Avoid touching your face unnecessarily – and wash your hands with gentle soap and water frequently

When to See a Doctor

•  You should book an appointment with a skin care doctor (dermatologist);

•  If self-care remedies don't clear your acne.

•  If acne persists or is severe.

•  In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne.

•  If after using a skin product you experience faintness, difficulty breathing, swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue, tightness in the throat

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