Acne vulgaris is a chronic skin disease of the pilosebaceous unit and develops due to blockages in the skin's hair follicles. These blockages are thought to occur as a result of the following four abnormal processes:
1.A higher than normal amount of oily sebum production (influenced by androgens).
2.Excessive deposition of the protein keratin leading to comedo formation.
3.Colonization of the follicle by Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria.
4.The local release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the skin.
Acne, medically known as Acne Vulgaris, is a skin disease that involves the oil glands at the base of hair follicles. It commonly occurs during puberty when the sebaceous (oil) glands come to life - the glands are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands of both males and females.
The earliest pathologic change is the formation of a plug, which is driven primarily by excessive growth, reproduction, and accumulation of skin cells in the hair follicle. In normal skin, the skin cells that have died come up to the surface and exit the pore of the hair follicle. However, increased production of oily sebum in those with acne causes the dead skin cells to stick together. The accumulation of dead skin cell debris and oily sebum blocks the pore of the hair follicle, thus forming the microcomedone or a plug leading to acne.
SOME MYTHS ABOUT ACNE:
Here are some factors that don't usually play a role in acne:
• Food: Parents often tell teens to avoid pizza, greasy and fried foods, and junk food. While these foods may not be good for overall health, they don't cause acne or make it worse. Although some recent studies have implicated a high-carbohydrate diet, milk, and pure chocolate in aggravating acne, these findings are very far from established.
• Dirt: Blackheads are oxidized oil, not dirt. Sweat does not cause acne and is produced by entirely separate glands in the skin. On the other hand, excessive washing can dry and irritate the skin.
• Stress: Some people get so upset by their pimples that they pick at them and make them last longer. Stress, however, does not play much of a direct role in causing acne but an indirect role is often seen to be played by stress.
In occasional patients, the following may be contributing factors:
• Heredity: If one of your parents had severe acne, it is likely that your acne will be more difficult to control.
• Pressure: In some patients, pressure from helmets, chin straps, collars, suspenders, and the like can aggravate acne.
• Drugs: Some medications may cause or worsen acne, such as those containing iodides, bromides, or oral or injected steroid or the steroids that bodybuilders or athletes sometimes take. Other drugs that can cause or aggravate acne are anticonvulsant medications and lithium .Most cases of acne, however, are not drug related.
• Occupations: In some jobs, exposure to industrial products like cutting oils may produce acne.
• Cosmetics: Some cosmetics and skin-care products are pore clogging ("comedogenic"). Of the many available brands of skin-care products, it is important to read the list of ingredients and choose those which have water listed first or second if one is concerned about acne. These "water-based" products are usually best for those with acne.
LOOKS LIKE ACNE BUT I AM NOT ACNE, THEN WHAT?
• Rosacea: This condition is characterized by pimples but not comedones and occurs in the middle third of the face, along with redness, flushing, and superficial blood vessels. It generally affects people in their 30s and 40s and older.
• Pseudo folliculitis: This is sometimes called "razor bumps" or "razor rash." When cut too close to the skin, growing hairs twist into the skin and produce tender bumps. This is a mechanical problem, and treatment involves shaving less (growing a beard, laser hair removal). Pseudo folliculitis can, of course, occur in patients who have acne, too.
• Folliculitis: Pimples can occur on other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, buttocks, or legs. These represent not acne but inflamed follicles. If these don't go away on their own, doctors can prescribe oral or external antibiotics, generally not the same ones used for acne.
• Gram-negative folliculitis: Some patients who have been treated with oral antibiotics for long periods of time develop pustules filled with bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotics that were previously used. Bacterial culture tests can identify these germs, leading the doctor to prescribe different antibiotics or other forms of treatment.
TYPES OF ACNE
• Whiteheads - remain under the skin and are very small
• Blackheads - clearly visible, they are black and appear on the surface of the skin. Remember that a blackhead is not caused by dirt. Scrubbing your face vigorously when you see blackheads will not help
• Papules - visible on the surface of the skin. They are small bumps, usually pink
• Pustules - clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are red at their base and have pus at the top
• Nodules - clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are large, solid pimples. They are painful and are embedded deep in the skin
• Cysts - clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are painful, and are filled with pus. Cysts can easily cause scars.
Quick look on acne
• Acne is a skin disease that involves the oil glands at the base of hair follicles.
• Acne commonly occurs during puberty.
• Acne is not dangerous, but can leave skin scars.
• Types of pimples include whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts.
• Approximately three-quarters of 11 to 30 year-olds will get acne at some time.
• Pizza, greasy and fried foods, and junk food are not causative factors.
• The primary cause is a rise in androgen levels (hormone).
• Genetic factor plays an important role.
• Treatment for acne may depend on how severe and persistent it is.
• Acne can be affected by the menstrual cycle, anxiety and stress, hot and humid climates, oil based makeup, greasy hair and pimple squeezing.
There are many home remedies which can help you with Acne.
If home remedies are not very helpful then you can also take Homeopathy as it will help you treat the cause of Acne. It also helps in removing the spots and discoloration due to Acne.
Hope the information was useful to all of you. For any further doubts or queries we are just a click away.
Dr. Khushboo Murarka
NagpurMay 13, 2017