Men and women, teenagers and adults: acne affects everyone. Acne pimples can lead to loss of self-esteem, inferiority complex, social phobia, depression and anxiety. If you want to know all about this common skin condition and its really effective treatments, then this article is for you!
Acne: why do we get pimples?
Acne is an inflammatory skin disease that occurs when excess sebum accumulates in the openings of the hair ducts. This leads to the formation of a “plug”, which creates an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply, skin inflammation, breakouts and other blemishes.
Acne on the face can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the severity and degree of the inflammatory processes. It can appear as blackheads, redheads, whiteheads or painful purulent rashes. In most cases, the rash affects the T-zone – the area with the highest sebaceous gland activity and the most dilated pores. These are the forehead, nose and chin. Acne occurs less frequently in the U-zone (cheeks and cheekbones).
Types and stages of acne
Dermatologists distinguish several types of acne, which differ in their symptoms and external manifestations:
- Closed comedones are skin eruptions consisting of hardened and inflamed skin secretions (most of them are black or grey). They are found under the skin.
- Open comedones (better known as blackheads) are similar in nature to closed comedones, but appear exclusively on the surface of the skin.
- Nodules are subcutaneous nodular formations that are accompanied by inflammation and painful sensations. They are hard to the touch and feel, and look like hard lumps. In some cases, they may be surrounded by a purulent discharge.
- Papules are small, red, painful pimples that have no purulent content.
- Pustules are highly visible (‘classic’) pimples. Accompanied by a purulent discharge and a pronounced inflamed red skin area.
- Pustules are highly visible (“classic”) pimples. They are accompanied by a purulent discharge and a very pronounced inflamed red area of skin.
The stages of acne development can be divided into three forms:
- Mild form – an oily sheen, black and white non-inflammatory acne.
- Moderate severity – the oily breakout becomes more intense, expressed by the formation of a large number of comedones and 10 to 20 elements with signs of inflammation).
- A severe form of acne (more than 40 elements), large and painful nodules, pustules and cysts, constant inflammation.
Causes of facial acne
To one degree or another, about 80% of people have suffered from acne at least once in their lives. Let’s take a look at the possible causes of acne, which lead to overactive sebum synthesis and the development of inflammatory outbreaks.
TOP 12 reasons for the appearance of acne on the face:
- Changes in the functioning of the hormonal system or fluctuations in the hormonal background (puberty, pregnancy etc.);
- diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland
- unbalanced diet
- lack of sleep, bad habits;
- inappropriate care;
- use of medicines containing halogens and barbiturates;
- skin lesions accompanied by inflammation;
- thickening of the horny layer of the epidermis (hyperkeratosis);
- accumulation in the pores of keratinised particles of the epidermis, mixed with sebum;
- lack of hygiene;
- Stress (the stress hormone cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands during emotional disorders, activates the sebaceous glands).
How is acne treated?
Acne is a serious condition and should be treated by a dermatologist. If the problem is limited to a few small pimples (comedones, pustules) and clogged pores, you can solve it yourself with dermo-cosmetics.
If the situation is serious (cystic inflammation, deep subcutaneous pimples, nodules, or knotty pimples appear), then it is better to consult a specialist. He will prescribe antibiotics, medicines containing isotretinoin etc. In these circumstances, self-medication can only make the problem worse.
What methods can be used to get rid of acne?
1 Exfoliation – This is the process of removing dead cells from the surface of the skin using a chemical, granular substance or exfoliating tool. In other words, it is the intensive cleaning of the skin in depth using scrubs, peels, masks. The frequency of the procedure depends on the type and condition of the skin.
2 Antibiotics- For the treatment of the 3 and 4 stages of acne (moderate and severe), a dermatologist prescribes certain antibiotics: minocycline, doxycycline, tetracycline and erythromycin.
3 Hormone therapy – To treat adult acne caused by hormonal imbalances in the body, a dermatologist prescribes some tests and hormone therapy.
4 Retinoids- With regular use, vitamin A derivatives, designed to normalise skin cell renewal, effectively fight acne and post-acne (scars and hyperpigmentation), even out skin tone and texture, and accelerate the exfoliation of dead skin cells.
5 Phototherapy-The treatment of acne with phototherapy (radiotherapy) involves exposing problem areas of the skin to an intense stream of light, while reducing sebum production. The procedure also improves blood flow to the sebaceous glands, which aids the repair process.
How to get rid of acne quickly and naturally?
In order to reduce your acne pimples, you need to follow these basic rules:
- Don’t touch your pimples!
- Clean your skin regularly!
- Use very mild soaps!
- Reduce fatty and sugary foods!
- Drink plenty of water to hydrate the body!
- Avoid using comedogenic products!
- Avoid exposure to the sun.
- Keep a healthy and balanced diet!
How long does acne last?
The speed with which acne clears up depends directly on how quickly you start taking a holistic approach to treatment. Discipline in diet and daily hygiene is very important, as is strict adherence to your dermatologist’s recommendations regarding the use of medication and cosmetic skin care products.
It is impossible to say exactly how long it will take to cure acne. Even if acne appears quickly and suddenly, it takes time for the skin to start responding to treatment. If everything is done correctly, a positive dynamic can be seen within a month. As a rule, a mild form of acne (grades 1 and 2) does not require medication and in most cases it takes 6 to 12 weeks to get rid of the disease.
What happens if 2-3 grades of acne are left untreated?
If instead of going to a dermatologist you prefer to let go or mask your pimples with cosmetics, the problem can last for several months. With moderate and severe acne (grades 3 and 4), complex therapy and drug treatment is required, which at this stage of the disease can last up to a year.
Possible complications and consequences
Advanced stages of acne rarely disappear without a trace. According to recent studies, 95% of people, after inappropriate acne treatment, develop post-acne – multicoloured spots on the skin, scars and bumps, irregularities in the most inflammatory areas.
This means that after acne, the skin can lose its beautiful, healthy appearance because of the blemishes that have appeared:
- Enlarged pores
- Red, blue and even purple marks
- Scars and irregularities
- Sebaceous cysts
- Brown spots
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Very dry sensitive skin
- Peeling skin
The severity of the complications that occur depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the skin damage. For example, the appearance of hyperpigmentation indicates skin trauma to the epidermis. Scars and skin irregularities are the result of damage to the dermal tissue layers.
How to care for acne-prone skin
Acne-prone skin needs gentle and gentle cleansing, regular effective moisturising and prompt removal of emerging sites of new inflammation. Proper care will greatly improve acne treatment and reduce the risk of scarring and blemishes.
The selection of skin care products is always difficult. You cannot base your choice on advertisements alone! If your acne is caused by a body dysfunction, it is unlikely that the more expensive products will help you. You need to find the cause of your acne first.
Comprehensive acne skin care can be divided into 3 main phases:
- Cleansing – removal of dead dermis, skin impurities, excess oil
- Repairing and soothing the inflamed skin
First of all, the skin must be cleansed of sebum and dead skin cells, for which you can use a cleansing gel or micellar water. With cellular products, you remove impurities, preparing the skin for further treatments.
After cleansing, it is necessary to moisturise the skin. It is necessary to use special products to nourish and moisturise the skin: cream or serum – the choice of product depends largely on individual needs, but such an acne facial care product must contain nutritive components.
In addition to moisturising, it is important to remember to nourish the skin. It is therefore recommended to regularly apply different masks. Choose acne-prone skin care products that simultaneously nourish, cleanse and protect the skin.
How to choose products for your acne-prone face?
Skin care products for acne-prone skin should contain a number of active ingredients that will help normalise cell function and saturate them with all the necessary nutrients. They should contain sebum-regulating ingredients. These are active ingredients that reduce sebum production and make the skin less oily.
When it comes to cleansing products, choose a gentle cleanser that is suitable for acne-prone skin. For moisturising, opt for light, fluid textures that are quickly absorbed. Be careful when choosing your moisturiser as it may do worse than better if it is not suitable for acne-prone skin.
There is a wide range of products available to treat adult acne topically. These products contain many effective ingredients, the most important of which are zinc for healing, oats for soothing and salicylic acid for exfoliating.
What natural solutions are there to treat acne?
Tea tree oil is one of the best solutions for treating acne naturally, as it has drying properties. Tea tree oil dries and clears up pimples perfectly. You can also choose jojoba vegetable oil. Mix these two oils and apply them with a cotton swab twice a day after your skin care routine for a natural acne treatment.
But be careful! The oils do not treat the cause of the disease, but they do help you to hide the consequences. They can therefore never replace the medication prescribed by your dermatologist.