What is acne?
Acne is driven by both genetic and hormonal influences. During puberty, teenagers suffer acne outbreaks as the body experiences hormonal changes. The outbreaks occur in the face, chest, shoulders, and back. The oil glands or sebaceous glands are found in high concentrations in these areas. Acne is the name of the disease entity. Pimples are clogged and infected hair follicles, which are one of the main signs and symptom of acne.
Sometimes, the skin cells in the pores stick together and form clumps. These are often known as comedones, or white-heads. If the material in the clump oxidizes and becomes dark, it leads to blackheads. Bacteria in the skin migrate into areas where they use sebum, greasy or oily matter secreted by sebaceous glands leading to skin inflammation. Since there can be different components involved in the outbreak of acne in different people, it is important to get a consultation with a specialist to understand the reason behind acne.
Types of acne
There are 6 main types of acne:
Blackheads – open clogged pores where oil turns brown when exposed to air
Whiteheads – closed clogged pores that are firm and won’t pop
Nodules – large painful lumps under the skin
Cysts – large lumps filled with pus that look similar to boils
Papules – small red bumps that feel sore to touch
Pustules – pus filled papules with a white tip
Tips to help manage or prevent acne:
- Wash areas of the skin affected by acne twice a day. Frequent washing will irritate the skin making the symptoms worse.
- Use a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Water that’s too hot or cold water can make acne worse.
- Don’t squeeze the spots or try to clean out blackheads. This can make things worse or lead to scars.
- Don’t use too much make-up or cosmetics.
- Remove all make-up before bed.
- Use a water-based emollient that’s fragrance-free for any dry skin.
- Shower after a workout or exercise to stop sweat irritating acne.
- Keep the hair off the face especially if you have dandruff.
- Wash hair regularly.
For the scars
Treating acne scars takes perseverance. The sooner you start treating a scar, the better. The most important thing you can do to prevent scarring during a breakout is to never pick or pop pimples, whiteheads or blackheads!
Remember to stay out of the sun as much as possible to avoid making dark spots and scars worse. When you are in the sun, use an all-natural sunscreen to protect skin.
Coconut oil, lavender essential oil, honey and gentle exfoliation can also help prevent scars, depending on your skin tone and texture. To naturally heal acne scars you can make a paste of raw honey, lavender essential oil and tea tree oil.
Here is a recipe for a homemade acne scar removal face mask:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons almond oil or olive oil
8–10 drops tea tree essential oil
Combine all ingredients into a jar. Mix well. Apply daily, leaving on the skin for 10–15 minutes. Wash thoroughly.
Consult a dermatologist
Everyone’s skin composition is different; it is therefore important that a dermatologist is consulted; after all, only a certified expert can suggest a personalised treatment of acne. Since medications can have side effects, it is important to make sure that the benefits of acne therapy and the results outweigh the risks of treatment.
Some of the common side effects of acne treatment can be irritation, sun sensitivity, mild stomach upset, yeast infections and dry skin. Therefore, it is advisable to not self-treat acne and consult a specialist before the outbreak spreads, especially for the young adult.