When you talk of acne, most people associate it with teenagers. Well, the dreaded skin condition also affects adults and people of all ages. It is characterized by the development of pimples, blackheads, and pus-laden bumps, which are eventually scared into spots. These are born when the hair follicles are interfered with by oil, dead cells, or infectious bacteria.
The most common areas of infection are the face, shoulders, and upper arms. The condition is not dangerous but can lead to unpleasant bumps and scars on the affected areas. The good thing is that even though acne can be stubborn, it can be treated, and the individual may regain a smooth skin texture. To understand how effective the treatment options of acne can be, let’s look at a few facts about the disease.
Our skin has pores that are connected to glands containing oil found deep in the skin. The oily liquid found in these glands is known as sebum. The oily liquid is responsible for carrying dead cells responsible for the formation of the outermost skin layer. Most of these pores have hair growing out of them to the outside of the skin. When an oil build-up blocks these follicles, acne could result.
Sometimes the skin cells, the hair, and the sebum clump together and form a plug. When this happens, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), a bacterium that lives on the skin, infects the plug, leading to a swelling that develops into a pimple. The multiple formations of these plugs on the skin lead to pimples all over the affected area. The severity of the infection depends on the strain of the P. acnes bacteria. Other factors that may trigger or worsen the symptoms of acne include:
- Hormonal changes
- Emotional stress
- Greasy cosmetics
- Medication containing androgens and lithium
Treating Acne ranges from home remedies to antibiotics. While some people somewhat benefit from antibiotic treatments, Dr. Jaggi Rao says that Neosporin may make your acne worse, citing bacterial antibiotic resistance as the reason. The good thing is that alternatives are always available, both home remedies and topical formulations.
Treatments also depend on the severity of the condition. Most of the available treatment options are only effective in treating the condition when it appears. In most cases, acne cannot be cured completely unless it disappears on its own. Nonetheless, common treatment options for acne include the following:
Several home remedies are known to work for some people, but there is little scientific evidence of their effectiveness. Your best bet is to try them out to see what works for you. Here are some of these home remedies:
- Diet: it is not clear how nutritional choices help prevent the condition, but there are claims that people who take foods rich in vitamins A and E experience a less severe form of Acne. It is also said that low glycemic index diets help prevent severe acne.
- Tea: there is a compound found in tea known as polyphenol. It is known to reduce sebum production, which is known to intensify acne.
- Moisturizers: skincare products containing aloe vera are especially known to have a soothing effect in acne cases and help reduce the inflammatory effect. Some skin moisturizers have also been known to help out people using isotretinoin to treat acne.
Medical treatment of Acne usually depends on the severity of the condition. They are categorized into mild Acne, moderate, and severe Acne. Let’s begin with mild acne treatment.
Mild Acne can be treated using casual skin treatment products like lotions, soaps, gels, and pads. It is advisable to use alcohol-based gels if your skin is oily and creams and lotions for sensitive skin. Make sure that the over the counter (OTC) medication you acquire have the following ingredients;
- Benzoyl peroxide: it kills P. acne and reduces the production of sebum.
- Azelaic acid: stops sebum build-up in the follicles, strengthens the cell around the follicles, and reduces the bacteria’s development.
- Salicylic acid helps reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Resorcinol: it aids in the breaking down of the whiteheads and the blackheads.
Treating moderate to severe Acne requires you to visit a skin specialist or a dermatologist. After analyzing your condition, they can then prescribe something that you are sure will work for you. There are several antibiotics that they can prescribe, ranging from gels, creams to OTC prescriptions.
- Corticosteroid injection: this is given when the acne cysts have been severely inflamed to the point that it has ruptured. The injection is meant to prevent scarring that might result from the rupture, reduce inflammation, and hasten to heal.
- Oral antibiotics: the administration of these antibiotics is meant to reduce the population of P. acnes. The dosage may be prescribed for up to six months, depending on how severe the ailment is. The dosage is high at the beginning and reduces as the healing progresses. At times the Acne becomes resistant to certain antibiotics that it becomes necessary to change the prescription. The most common are Erythromycin and tetracycline.
- Oral contraceptives: this is administered to women mainly to suppress the overactive glands. The treatment is usually long-term. It is highly recommended that you visit a gynecologist before taking this medication.
- Topical antimicrobials: this is meant for a patient experiencing severe Acne. It reduces the strains of P. acne.
- Isotretinoin: a strong oral medication administered to severe Acne that isn’t responding to all other medications. It is administered strictly, and the patient has to sign a consent form before it can be administered.
Acne Care Tips
If your skin has Acne or the condition is chronic for you, here are tips to look after it.
- Avoid popping pimples. It increases scarring.
- Refrain from touching the infected areas, especially if it’s the face
- Make sure your hands are clean when applying lotions and other skincare products.
- Wash your face at most twice a day using warm water and using soap meant for acne treatment.
- Avoid excessive exposure to the sun as it leads to more sebum production, increasing the risk of Acne.
Acne requires you to be very keen on your skin. Always seek medical advice before making any major approaches to the condition. There is a wide range of treatments out there, but not all of them may work specifically for you. Always get in touch with your doctor or dermatologist for advice before using any acne treatment. Also, take good care of your skin if it is prone to the condition.