acne

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 Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects around 50 million Americans annually and over 85% of the world’s population. The numbers suggest that acne is a prime concern for several people, however, this skin condition is also often misunderstood and misconstrued.

For starters, acne is multifactorial - several factors come into play for every whitehead, blackhead, or papule that pops up on your face. Secondly, not all acne is of the same type. While some might be related to hormonal imbalances for several years, others might be limited to stress over a certain period.

In any event, three in four people between the ages of 11 to 30 are reportedly suffering from acne. Besides the clinical implications of it, acne has a major impact on your state of mind with several people claiming to feel under-confident because of their acne.

What Causes Acne?

Most people would report acne outbursts in their teens compared to other times. This holds clinical significance because your body increases its production of sebum during puberty.

You have tens and hundreds of millions of hair follicles on your body. These follicles are attached to sebaceous glands that produce oily sebum. During puberty, your body produces an excess of sebum and it tends to clog up in your pores.

Concurrently, your body also reacts to the increased sebum production by stimulating white blood cells. The filled follicle ruptures and bacteria from your normal flora are provided a gateway into your body.

The bacteria most often implicated in causing acne would be Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes. Either one of three conditions can follow:

  • The follicle is covered by a layer of skin cells and therefore unexposed - a whitehead will form.
  • The follicle is not covered by a layer of skin cells and left exposed - a blackhead will form.
  • The bacteria and the host response are aggressive - a papule will form.

The formation of either one of these three depends on your genetics, diet, hormones, and hygiene - to name a few.

Acne Treatments

Commonclear skin treatment include:

1.Retinoids

Retinoids or retinoid-like drugs are used to treat mild to moderate cases of acne. They’re usually distributed as topical creams.

2.Antibiotics

Clindamycin and Erythromycin are two of the most commonly used antibiotic treatments to curb acne. They're often used in conjunction with retinoids and benzoyl peroxides.

3.Salicylic Acid

Salicyclic acid is often incorporated into facewashes. The product removes dirt and bacteria from pores and therefore prevents them from clogging.

4.Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced by yeast with anti-bacterial properties recommended for use twice a day in cases of moderate to severe acne.

5.Benzyl Peroxide

Benzyl Peroxide is either supplied as a prescription drug, an over-the-counter drug, or incorporated into skincare products. The chemical kills bacteria and cleans pores. It is used for four weeks to curb cases of mild to moderate acne.

6.Dapsone

Dapsone creams are applied topically to areas of inflammatory acne twice a day. They might produce some side effects such as redness and swelling.

7.Apple Cider Vinegar

The organic acid found in apple cider vinegar helps in killing bacteria and reducing inflammation. It is used in mild, moderate, or severe cases of acne.

8.Sulfur

The chemical compound is used in conjunction with other acne treatments. Sulfur is supplied as an over-the-counter medicament but is less commonly prescribed because of its side effects.

9.Zinc Supplements

Most people with acne tend to be suffering from a deficiency of zinc and when given supplements, their acne resolves.

10.Green Tea Extract

The polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing inflammatory acne.

Conclusion

Of the 85% of people suffering from acne 77% have tried finding a solution to overcome it rather than waiting for acne to ‘run its course.’ Meaning that an overwhelming majority of people with acne seek treatment rather than waiting to get out of their teen years to curb their acne.

(guest article)

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