Acne is one of the most unpleasant skin conditions that can affect us at different stages in our lives. It has many causes, starting with a genetic predisposition to low immunity and stress or hormonal changes. To correctly diagnose and treat acne, we need to identify the factors that caused it in the first place.
If you are suffering from severe acne or acne vulgaris, you might want to discuss this issue with your dermatologist as he can help you with a treatment for acne. He can recommend different options that are good for your particular case.
But, before getting to the doctor’s office, let’s have a look at what are the symptoms of acne, what are the different types of acne, the causes behind acne vulgaris, and even some ideas about treatment and prevention.
Symptoms of acne
This skin condition can occur at any age and in different areas of the body. Acne at the level of the body occurs when the pores or the hair follicles get clogged with dead skin cells or sebum.
This is the reason why we can get acne symptoms at the level of the body and the face, wherever we have sebaceous glands and hair follicles. When the hair follicles get infected, pimples can develop. However, most commonly, we will notice the symptoms of acne at the level of the face, neck, chest, and upper back.
While it is not a dangerous health condition, it can be very annoying to be dealing with acne. One of the reasons why this skin condition is so feared is that it can be rather difficult to treat. More than this, its symptoms can really trigger self-esteem issues, especially when they occur at the level of the face.
In a few words, acne is a condition that affects the skin. It occurs as a result of the hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands (also known as oil glands). These oil glands can considerably increase the production of sebum and trigger unpleasant consequences.
The most common symptoms of acne are blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules, and cysts. The cysts are deeper skin lesions that are more difficult to treat.
People dealing with acne know that another symptom of acne is the acne scars that are left behind when the pustules are gone. These scars are permanent unless otherwise treated. So, most people would need aside acne treatment, another treatment for acne scars that are left at the level of the skin.
Different types of acne
There are different types of acne, such as:
1. Comedonal acne
With comedonal acne, we are dealing with comedones, as the name suggests. So, in other words, we have blackheads and whiteheads that occur mostly at the level of the face – forehead, cheeks, nose.
Blackheads occur when the pores are opened but clogged with sebum and other impurities such as dead skin cells. In the case of whiteheads, the pores are closed, so the impurities can’t get out.
Pimples are usually not associated with this type of acne, but this doesn’t make it any better as one patient can have tens of whiteheads and blackheads concentrated in one small area. This type of acne occurs more frequently in adolescence.
Most people know that cleansing the pores is an important part of preventing acne. However, you should know that exfoliating in excess and getting rid of dead skin cells is actually a factor that causes acne. But we’ll discuss more about what to do about clogged pores and dead skin cells later on.
2. Papulopustular acne
This type of acne is even less fun than the one before – here we have papules and pustules. So, instead of whiteheads and blackheads, we have small vesicles or bumps at the level of the skin. Papules are also filled with yellowish-looking pus, so really not fun at all.
While papules are can look just like small bumps at the surface of the skin, they can be rather firm and deep, not to mention painful to the touch. This type of acne is localized at the level of the face but can also occur on the chest and upper back.
It is much more difficult to treat and is considered a chronic skin condition. The treatment of this type of acne can take years, even if you get help from a dermatologist or skin therapist. Another unpleasant aspect to mention about this acne is that it leaves behind scars that would need additional treatment to correct.
3. Conglobate acne
If you thought that what we discussed until now doesn’t sound too good, just wait and see what conglobate acne is all about. We are talking here about the most severe acne type, cystic acne. The symptoms are comedones, papules, pustules, pimples, cysts, and keloid scars.
The keloid scars are not like normal scars where the tissue looks like a dent in the skin. Keloid scars are an abnormal type of scars – there is a lot of fibrous tissue instead of normal skin. You know it is a keloid scar because the scar looks larger and doesn’t give any signs of healing in time.
This severe acne type can be present at the level of the face, neck, chest, and upper back, but it can also spread to the arms, abdomen, and even the buttocks or the scalp.
The evolution of cystic acne is chronic and can be very painful. In this case, the inflammation can be very unpleasant, and getting rid of the cysts most often results in scars at the level of the skin. If this type of acne is not treated, it can get even worse.
What is the difference between acne and pimples?
We have discussed whiteheads, blackheads, pimple, acne cyst, nodules, and so on, but for someone who is not overly familiar with the terms, it can be rather challenging to recognize them. This is probably the reason why many people want to know what the difference between acne and pimples is.
Well, in just a few words, pimples are just one of the symptoms of acne. They can also occur unrelated to acne, and we call the phenomenon “skin breakout.” It is not pleasant, but certainly not as terrible as dealing with acne for years. Acne is a skin condition with many other symptoms, such as the ones we mentioned before.
What is acne vulgaris?
Another frequently asked question is about acne vulgaris. This is a type of acne that mostly affects young adults. It is one of the chronic skin diseases characterized by the clogging of the pores and the inflammation associated with it. It usually affects the facial area but can also be present at the level of the abdominal area.
Just like it is the case with this skin condition in general, there are different factors that cause acne; however, hormonal changes can be one of the most important. Teenagers that get acne are bothered by the aspect of the pimples that occur at the level of the hair follicles that get infected.
What is the main cause of acne?
As we have mentioned before is not just one factor that causes acne. Let’s have a look at what can cause acne:
- Genetic predisposition
- Increased sebum production
- The proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes and Stafilococ epidermidis
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive accumulation of dead skin cells at the surface of the skin
- Using the wrong type of skin care products that can irritate the skin or clog the pores
When it comes to what causes acne in adult patients, the factors are more or less the same. However, in this case, it is important to mention that a low immune system can make all the difference in this case. While stress doesn’t cause acne, studies show that it contributes to making the skin condition worse.
How do you clear up acne?
We had a look at several frequently asked questions, but this is, without doubt, the most popular one!
As acne is a skin condition with so many causes, the treatment is not always straight forward for most people. Acne treatment needs to be personalized according to the specifics of each patient.
Generally speaking, people can resort to three different approaches when it comes to treating acne:
1. Skincare products to treat acne
Most often, this is how people choose to approach this issue. There are plenty of skin care products designed for acne-prone skin or to treat acne.
It is important to choose products that are not overly harsh on sensitive skin as the symptoms might be accentuated instead of cured. Getting plenty of information before starting a treatment for pimples is essential for achieving success.
Also, keep in mind that it is always a good idea to start with a gentle pimples cleanser and work your way up than just applying the strongest active ingredient directly on your face.
When it comes to treating acne scars, in a vast majority of cases, people need either a few sessions of microdermabrasion or a chemical peeling.
2. Medication for acne
In some cases, the skin care products for acne are just not enough to help you get rid of pimples and the other symptoms associated with this skin condition. This is when your doctor might prescribe medication for acne.
Usually, we are talking about antibiotics or retinoids. Acne medication is prescription only, and your doctor is the one to decide the dosage. Just like it is the case with any type of medication, side effects are possible, keep this in mind before starting the treatment.
3. Natural remedies for acne
If you are a fan of natural products and ingredients for treating acne, lavender oil or tea tree oil are well-known for their benefits. Even cinnamon powder mixed with a teaspoon of honey and applied as a mask a few times per week can be efficient in helping you get relief from the symptoms of acne.
While the natural remedies won’t damage your skin, if you are suffering from severe acne, you might want to get advice from your doctor before trying a DIY treatment.
Acne can be a reputable enemy when it comes to the aspect and the health of your skin. And the bad news is that it can affect most of us, at one moment or the other in our lives, for shorter or longer periods of time.
The good news, however, is that we can do our best to prevent it by adopting healthy habits such as a balanced diet and a daily beauty routine that focuses on cleansing and hydrating the skin and also drinking enough water. Something as simple as drinking six to eight glasses of water per day can considerably improve the aspect of the skin and reduce most of the symptoms of acne.
Treating acne is rather challenging, even with the help of the best dermatologists. However, it is important to keep in mind that consistency is the key to win at this game.
Keep doing the right things, follow the recommendations of your doctor, and sooner or later, you will enjoy a clean and clear face (and body) once again! Healthy habits and a positive attitude can make all the difference here. Eliminating stress from your life can also help you get rid of acne sooner.