The pimple you see is produced when the bacteria are growing in an oil-clogged pore and are called Whiteheads. If the pimple is open at the surface and the bacteria and oil are exposed to the oxygen in the air, the head of the pimple may appear black. The black color is not caused by dirt in the pimple; it is produced when the bacteria and oil are oxygenated by the air.
Where does acne appear on our body?
Acne typically appears on your face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders because these areas of skin has the most oil (sebaceous) glands.
What do the varied forms of acne look like?
• Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
• Blackheads (open plugged pores)
• Small, red tender bumps (papules)
• Pimples (pustules) which are papules with pus at their tips
• Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
• Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)
Acne can be a challenge to manage and finally eliminate. Pain and scarring can cause unwelcome levels of emotional stress. Begin to treat the problem as soon as possible to avoid the ravages of uncontrolled breakouts.
What types of acne cause scars?
The papules, pustules, nodules and cysts are inflammatory lesions that are more likely to cause scarring.
Blackheads and Whiteheads (the comedones) are often treated and eliminated without scarring.
What factors can trigger or activate acne from within?
Hormones: Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum.
Some women experience acne flare-ups a week before menstruation.
In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may signal an underlying disease requiring medical attention.
Medications: drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.
Diet: some foods may worsen acne, such as carbohydrate rich foods (bread, bagels, chips) skim milk, chocolate and refined sugars.
Stress: emotional stress and the negative effects on your body chemistry can make your acne worse.
Self Esteem: Young people are embarrassed to have a visible acne condition, and some have even chosen to stay at home instead of going to school and enjoying the academic and social life they really want to have. In the workplace, adults can feel less confident in their ability to function professional and even reluctant to attend meetings with their peers and clients both in and out of their office.
Tap Water: may contain chlorine and other contaminants such as fluorine compounds, trihalomethanes, salts of arsenic, radium, aluminum, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium and barium.
Hormones, nitrates and pesticides are also among the offenders that can poison the body from within and kill the good bacteria whose presence promotes a healthy skin.
Family History: Genetics play a role in why you may get acne. If parents or other close relatives have acne, you may develop it as well.
What external factors can contribute to the formation of acne?
- Greasy or oily substances.
When your skin comes into contact with oily or greasy lotions and creams, you may see acne as the skin’s response.
If you work in a kitchen where vats of grease are used in the cooking or French fries, chicken or fish, you may be highly at risk for outbreaks of acne if you are acne prone.
- Cosmetics and Creams:
Women should choose oil-free creams and foundation where possible, in order to avoid more clogging of the pores. Do not use any products that contain parabens, ammonium glycols, formaldehyde, alcohol or synthetic fragrances (just to name a few). These substances may negatively impact the treatment and cure of acne.
What can you do to prevent pimples and clear up your acne?
Self-care activities should include:
- Cleaning your skin 2 or 3 times daily with a mild soap or an oil-free cleanser to remove excess oil and dirt.
- Shampooing your hair regularly and keeping your hair off your face.
- Using make-up that is water-based or labelled “noncomedogenic (not pore-clogging).
- Avoid squeezing or picking at pimples as these actions will spread the oil and bacteria.
- Avoid wearing hats or snug headbands
- Avoid touching your face
- Removing makeup and cleaning your skin gently but thoroughly before going to bed each night
- Changing your pillowcases daily
- Showering after exercising
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing
- Eating a healthy diet with minimal refined sugars (which the bad bacteria love to feed upon)
- Doing whatever you can to reduce the amount of stress in your life
Since acne can appear in so many different forms, learn the specific treatments available which will be most effective on the various types:
Generally, acne in its various forms, are very treatable.
By making recommended life-style changes and by choosing safe but effective cleansers. Topical sprays or gels can cure many forms of acne.
Some types of acne, however, can be more difficult to treat.
For example, modular acne can become inflamed, infected and painful.
If your acne problem does not respond well to your personal efforts to eradicate it, you must seek the help of a specialist.
The specialist will be able to manage your acne with prescription medications and perhaps, drainage or extraction therapies.
Antibiotics such as tetracycline can help fight bacteria and infection from the inside out.
Birth control pills are often part of acne therapy under a doctor’s supervision.
Laser light can be used to help reduce the levels of bacteria that are causing symptoms of infection.
In some cases, chemical peels and microdermabrasion can be utilized to remove the top layer of your skin.
Chemical peels can improve mild acne scarring.
The drainage and extraction procedures are performed manually by the Doctor.
The large cysts are drained to remove the fluids, dirt, pus, dead skin cells and bacteria, that have caused the painful inflammation.
Your doctor may then inject antibiotics or a steroid in the cyst to speed up healing and reduce scarring.
Are there special concerns to consider if you choose to treat your acne while you’re pregnant?
Pregnant women may indeed experience an acne breakout and may not have all the same treatment options as others.
Most of the medications used to treat acne in teen and adults are not safe to use during pregnancy.
Some category “C” drugs (such as topical retinoids) can cause harm to the fetus if given in large amounts.
If you are pregnant, do not ingest or use any skin treatments without your Doctor’s approval and direction.