Before learning how to treat acne properly, you must know about your enemy. So, What is acne?
Acne refers to a skin condition characterized by the occurrence of infected or swollen hair follicles. Acne is commonly witnessed in areas like the face, chest, back, shoulders and neck as these areas have comparatively higher concentration of sebaceous glands distributed over them. The question – what is acne can be answered more precisely with the help of the following classification:
- Black heads: When the pores get partially clogged by sebum which is excessively produced by the sebaceous glands it traps the sebum inside the follicle to give rise to what is called as a black head. The black hue is often mistaken to be dirt. In fact it is the reaction of melanin (the pigment which gives color to the skin) with oxygen present in the air. Black heads commonly take a long time to clear.
- White heads: When the pores get clogged completely the excess sebum gets trapped inside the skin along with the bacteria present on the surface of the skin giving rise to tiny white spots known as white heads. They generally rupture on the surface of the skin.
- Papules: Headless tiny red bumps with inflammation are referred to as papules.Pustules: Pustules are small sized inflammations with a red circular lining with white or yellow colored pus in the center. These are often referred to as pimples in layman’s terms.
Getting Down To The Root Cause Of Acne
Even before you settle down to treat your acne or look for ways to prevent acne it is imperative that you understand the root cause of acne. Some of the major factors that contribute to acne are as follows:
- Hyperactivity of sebaceous glands: Sebaceous glands secrete sebum in order to lubricate the skin to prevent it from drying. But hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands leads to creation of blockages in the follicles and subsequently results in the formation of acne.
- Abnormal shedding of dead cells: Our skin regularly sheds the dead cells to make way for generation of new cells. However in the absence of normal shedding of dead skin cells they accumulate creating obstructions in the follicles again contributing to the formation of acne.
The propioni bacteria acnes are a type of bacteria found on the skin surface. It may combine with the sebum and the dead skin cells for creating a breeding environment for its growth.
The end result is that the pores become clogged with bacteria, dead skin cells and excess sebum. Collectively the above mentioned factors work to stimulate the production of the body’s defensive white blood cells to fight against the infection. The immune system is alerted to respond in the form of an inflammation.
Therefore in order to treat the root cause of acne you must figure out ways to help the immune system rather than fighting it out with harsh chemical substances as they tend to wipe out the healthy cells instead of restoring the already damaged cells.
How To Prevent Acne?
Now that there is a clear understanding of what is acne let’s look into some of the acne prevention tips:
- Don’t over wash: While it is essential to wash the acne prone areas using a mild cleansing agent, it should be strictly restricted to about 2 times a day or may be 3 times if needed. But beyond that you’re likely to cause skin irritation which can further trigger the onset of a breakout. Washing helps to get rid of the excessive sebum and the dead skin cells thus preventing formation of the gruesome acne. And one more thing, stick to water based products and especially if you have oily skin it is all the more important that you settle for oil free products.
- Beat the excess oil: If you have oily skin then it is all the more imperative that you become aware of what is acne as with oil skin you’re more prone to acne. First treat the root cause of the problem and look for ways to control the excess oil production. For this purpose washing the acne prone areas using salted warm water is thought to be beneficial.
- Remove your make-up before you wake up: It is advisable that you avoid intense make up and moreover stick to powder cosmetics instead of creams as they cause less irritation and remember to remove your make up before you go to bed to prevent the onset of a breakout when you wake up.
- Change your pillow case and linen regularly: Your pillow case and bed linen can be excellent carriers of bacteria which can possibly cause acne.
- Wear loose clothing: If you have been fighting out body acne then it is imperative that you wear clothes of natural fabrics like those of pure cotton, silk, wool etc as these fabrics are loosely woven which help in easy circulation of air, cause lesser skin irritation and thus prevent acne. Also minimize wearing tight straps like the ones used in back packs to avoid friction.
Is There Any Acne Treatment Available?
For those who are not prone to acne it’s likely that they don’t really will know what is acne and how to treat them. Here’s a guide to acne treatment.
Mild acne or occasional breakouts are common especially in adolescence in both male and female gender. But if your acne has spread from the face to the body it calls for medical attention as the acne can cause discomfort and disrupt your routine activities. Acne treatments aim to reduce the sebum production, hasten the skin cell turnover rate, fight against microbial infections and reduce the inflammation and redness of the acne.
There are myriad treatment options available for acne.
Laser and light treatment: This method of treatment involves exposing the acne prone area to a specific intensity light which is absorbed deep into the skin and is converted into heat which in turn stimulates the sebaceous glands to secrete less sebum.
While the light treatment directly helps to kill the bacteria causing acne. By and large apart from ridding you of acne these treatments can improve the texture and appearance of the skin. They can also successfully be used to treat acne scars. Today laser treatment has a no. of options available for treating acne. Like blue light therapy, photodynamic therapy, photo pneumatic therapy etc.
Cosmetic procedures like microdermabrasion, chemical peels etc can be complimented with other acne methods to effectively clear acne. Thus with the treatment options mentioned above one should soon forget what is acne.
Acne medication to a considerable extent can help you manage the severity of breakouts. Acne medication work to reduce the amount of sebum production, destroy the infectious bacteria, loosen the clogged pores and reduce hormonal changes which affect acne formation.
Acne medications come in the form of acne control gels, lotions, face and body washes, oral and topical anti biotic, etc.
Acne face wash and acne body wash are effective acne control products. A few useful tips on choosing the right acne wash.
You may be over excited about your new acne wash; you may be in a spree to finish the entire can ASAP to get rid of your acne quickly. But remember they are no magical solutions. Follow the instructions carefully and don’t over use them for they can cause skin irritation and redness.
Look for the word “mild” on the packaging to ensure they don’t harm your skin especially if you have sensitive skin.
Most washes have salicylic acid or benzol peroxide as their key ingredient. Look for concentration of each key ingredient. Make sure the salicylic acid content does not exceed 2% and that of benzol peroxide does not exceed 10%.
Always begin with the least concentration products, apply it on a less noticeable region, if you don’t develop any allergy you may proceed to use them on other areas and slowly move on to more concentric ones for further improvement in results.
The above article must have given you a brief idea of what is acne and how to prevent the onset of acne.