What is Acne and How to Treat it

ACNE – A problem of all ages

During teenage years and not only, acne can be a real nightmare and a tough challenge to fight against. And that can be confirmed by any boy or girl who wakes up with his/her face ruined by particularly annoying red spots right before a very important event.

Most teenagers go through this phase at some point in their life. Luckily, for most of them, as time passes by so does the acne. There are however some extreme cases when acne insists on staying and making our lives miserable even though the puberty is long gone. In some of these cases acne can even become more difficult to keep under control.

Although this is a skin condition that makes many people feel ashamed of their looks and isolate themselves from their colleagues and friends, it is important to know that it is the most common skin health issue that people all over the world are faced with and that it is completely treatable.

If left unsupervised by a doctor, acne normally takes about 4 or 5 years to settle. However, in some cases it can last for a longer period of time. Acne is often described by people as red spots affecting most often the face, but also the neck, back and chest region of the body.

It is estimated that almost 80% of all teenagers develop acne to a certain degree. In most situations it is mild, but there is almost 30% of cases that need treatment in order to prevent the apparition of permanent scaring on the face or on the body.

The causes are not the same for everyone

There are multiple known factors which all have a contributing influence on the degree of acne. Hormones play a leading role in the appearance of this skin condition. That is why, during puberty, when teenagers experience intense hormonal activity which determines an excessive production of sebum on the skin surface due to the sebaceous glands, they are the most likely to be affected by this skin condition.

All this combined with a shred of dead skin cells and bacteria can create moderate to severe acne and generate those unaesthetic pimples with blackheads or whiteheads and also large red spots and inflammation. Another defining factor is the levels of bacteria and impurities in the air. Even, workplace environment can significantly influence the condition of your skin if you are exposed to certain chemicals.

Do not make things worse than they actually are

Do not try to cure your acne by using treatments you heard from your friends or read about in magazines or on the internet, because most often, they cause more harm than good. As there are many different causes for acne, there are just as many different ways to treat it.

Your body is unique, which means that a treatment that worked for your friend might even make things worse in your case. Here are some tips on how to avoid making things worse than they are:

  • Hormonal treatment through birth control pills will help your friend improve her condition, but turn yours into a disaster. If you are interested about this option, visit our doctor. All hormonal birth control pills should be prescribed to you by a medic.
  • It is normal to try and cover those unbearable red spots with make-up. However, if you use heavy and oily products, you might end up making them even larger. Buy only cosmetics that are suited for your skin type. It is important that all used cosmetics are non-comedogenic.
  • Even if they look awful, picking and squeezing the acne signs will only make them more obvious as they tend to inflamate and can sometimes even leave scars.
  • Before taking any medication, ask the doctor how and if it affects your acne, as there are quite a number of pills out there which might make your condition worse.
  • Let your skin breathe. Many of the spots appear under tight clothes, headbands or bra straps as there is a lot of friction and more sweat between the skin and the clothes in those particular spots.
  • You might feel the need to wash your face often, but if you exaggerate you will only irritate your face even more. Washing your face twice a day is enough, but be careful to use mild soap and avoid scrubs.
  • Some acne treatments might make your skin feel dry. Use fragrance free face creams which are based on water. Avoid using oily products as they will make your condition worse.

Skin care and treatment

The best way to treat acne is to talk to a dermatologist. A doctor will make an expert evaluation of your situation and order some blood tests and other lab investigation in order to determine the exact cause of the acne and establish the proper and most effective way to treat it.

In mild cases, with some external treatments the problem can be kept under control. In such cases, using face creams, antibacterial face wash solutions or face creams with a certain level of antibiotics should be enough. In extreme cases, however, the treatment must be more aggressive in order to stop the inflammation from expanding.

It is very important to talk to a doctor before taking any medication, as the medical investigations will emphasize any other health issue that may get aggravated by the treatment.

The main purpose of any acne treatment is to avoid scarring and reduce red spots. Treatments can be applied directly on the skin or taken under the form of tablets. Mild acne is quite common among teenagers and, most of the time, goes away without leaving scars behind.

Meanwhile, severe forms of acne will leave obvious and unaesthetic scars, which might affect the self-esteem of the young person who is wearing them. Early treatment of severe acne is recommended in order to prevent scarring left by inflammation, such as redness, red spots and pustules.

If used according to the doctor’s or pharmacist’s advice, the treatment will work as expected and clear the majority of the spots. Don’t expect miracles to happen overnight, as there is no discovered treatment that will clear your skin perfectly in such a short amount of time. In order to get to see the results of the treatment, you must be patient and follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, for several months.

The main reason for treatment failure is the fact that most people are not patient enough. If they do not see impressive results within a couple of weeks after starting the treatment, they stop using it. The truth is that you need to expect at least six weeks of treatment before giving up on it. If after this time no changes appear, even after having used the treatment correctly and regularly, talk to the doctor and most likely you will be recommended a different, more powerful course of treatment.

Acne will come back if given the chance

Another important aspect to consider is the fact that acne is a recurrent skin condition. Even if the treatment worked and you are now free form all those nasty spots and scars, you are not completely cured of this disorder. After sports are reduced or completely gone it is essential for you to keep a maintenance routine in order to avoid the return of acne.

The follow up treatment might take up to five years to make sure that there is no way back to where everything started. Usually, the treatment consists of a regular routine using specific cosmetic products such as lotions, special soaps and face creams. The long-term use of antibiotics is not recommended as the germs will most likely build-up resistance to that specific treatment and will no longer be effective.

You should know there are certain things that depend completely on you to keep acne gone forever:

  • Use only creams, lotions and makeup products suited for your skin type. Acne Cosmetica is a very common skin issue caused by cosmetics and it usually affects the face, neck, hairline and even the scalp.
  • Remove all makeup before going to sleep, as during sleep your pillow case will collect all the residue from your face and irritate your skin.
  • Wash your makeup brushes because they collect makeup leftovers and bacteria and you will never see the end of this horror story otherwise.
  • Your cell phone is another endless source of bacteria and dirt. Try to wipe it daily with alcohol to remove most of the germs from it.
  • Above all, try not to touch your face. Your hands are full of germs. By touching your face, you will set them directly to your face and contribute to the increase of inflammation.

As a conclusion, acne is a common skin disease that is absolutely treatable as long as you don’t take matters into your own hands and seek the expert advice of a specialist. With some professional help, your skin complexion can be as beautiful as anyone else’s.

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