What Causes Acne?

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While acne is more common in teenagers, it can also affect adults as well. The condition is not life-threatening, but it may cause physical pain and emotional distress. Facial acne can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and may result in permanent physical scarring. Fortunately, there are numerous treatments out there that can diminish the appearance of acne, and decrease the risk of scarring. If you’re struggling with acne, Dr. William Long in New York can help.

Signs and Symptoms of Acne

Acne can appear on any part of your body, but most times, it develops on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and back.

If your skin develops acne, you will typically see white or black pimples. Blackheads are open and form at the skin surface. They appear black, because of the surrounding oxygen. On the other hand, whiteheads are closed and appear under the skin surface.

Other than blackheads and whiteheads, acne may also present inflammatory lesions, such as papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.

What Causes Acne?

Your skin possesses tiny openings, which are called pores. If these pores are clogged up with oil, dead skin cells or microorganisms, acne occurs.

Every skin pore has a follicle, which consists of a hair strand and a sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland produces sebum (oil), which moves up the hair, through the pore, and finally onto the outer skin layer. That helps to ensure the skin stays soft and lubricated.

When problems occur in the lubrication process, acne can arise. Such problems include:

  • Overproduction of sebum oil in the follicles
  • Accumulation of dead skin in the pores
  • Build of bacteria in the skin pores

The above problems contribute to the appearance of pimples.

Risk Factors for Getting Acne

There are many misconceptions about what can contribute to acne development. A lot of people feel that foods like French fries can lead to acne. Although such claims are not supported by scientific proof, there are some risk factors for getting acne, such as:

  • Hormonal changes during adolescence or pregnancy
  • Particular medications, like birth control bills
  • Eating too many refined sugars or carbohydrates
  • Coming from a family with a prevalence of acne

The puberty stage poses the highest risk of developing acne. At this phase, your body goes through hormonal changes, which may trigger oil production and result in a higher risk of acne development. Hormonal acne associated with puberty typically subsides as you enter adulthood.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Acne

If you are experiencing acne symptoms, a dermatologist can make a diagnosis by evaluating your skin. He or she can identify the kind of skin lesions you have and their seriousness to establish the best treatment method.

Acne can be treated through self-care or with medications. Some of the home remedies you can try are:

  • Use a mild soap to cleanse the skin of too much oil and dirt each day
  • Shampoo your hair regularly and keep it away from your face
  • Use makeup that doesn’t clog pores
  • Do not squeeze or pick pimples
  • Avoid hats or tight headbands
  • Don’t touch your face

If at-home care doesn’t help, your dermatologist may prescribe medications for reducing your acne symptoms. Such medications include oral or topical antibiotics, prescription topical creams, birth control pills (for women with hormonal acne), and Isotretinoin.

If you have severe acne, your doctor may recommend photodynamic therapy, dermabrasion, a chemical peel, or cortisone injections to treat your skin issue.

Acne treatment is usually successful, and you may expect to notice changes within 6-8 weeks.

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