Acne is a very common skin condition that has to do with hair follicles, oil, and dead skin cells. Acne likes to make itself visible through its presentation of pimples, oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads, and scarring. These symptoms are found on the face, chest, shoulders, and back. Almost everyone has had one of these acne types at some point in their life. The oil glands on the face clog the pores. Pores are where hair follicles are found. Large pores that are clogged create blackheads. These look like a tiny black dot on the face. Small pores that are clogged create whiteheads which are the white colored bumps that surface and release puss when aggravated. Either type can develop into a pimple that is typically tender and swollen. Severe cases of acne form nodules that can even become infected.
Acne likes to claim its fame during puberty and can last into a person’s 20’s. Adult acne is more common in women than men. The primary culprit of acne is hormones. Heredity also comes into play. Chocolate won’t cause acne, as is commonly believed. The increase in hormones during the teenage years produces more androgens which are the male sex hormones (including testosterone). Testosterone produces sebum which is the skin’s oil glands. Bacteria can also clog the hair follicle pores. It the bacteria that makes the black and/or whitehead. It then makes sense that women on birth control or people using steroids are at higher risk for acne due to hormonal changes introduced to the body.
For most people, acne makes them feel uncomfortable. Although mainly temporary, it can leave scarring. There are plenty of over the counter remedies, such as facewashes and creams. When these approaches don’t work, a doctor might prescribe medication. Make up and cover creams can be an option. The most effective treatment is trying to prevent that sebum production. Preventing bacteria growth is also important. Exfoliation can help unclog the pores. Cleansers can be used that have sulfer, and/or benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, salicylic acid. For many, soap and water alone can help prevent acne. For others, topical gels, alcohol, or acetone might need to be used to reduce oil on the skin. This will help treat how the skin grows and sheds. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics. Some of these medications do have possible side effects of dry skin, swelling, and sensitivity to sunlight.
No one likes the visibility of acne and the teenage years can be troublesome when it comes to appearance. Hormones like to control us in so many ways. Keeping a clean face will always help. We just have to remember to hold our heads up high even if a few bumps are on the surface. Fortunately, acne is only temporary.