What is acne?
Acne vulgaris (sometimes referred to as “cystic acne”) is a skin disease which is fairly widespread occuring for the most part during adolescence, however in some cases enduring into adulthood. The best treatment for acne change regularly as new medicine come out, of which we will go into detail in this article.
It normally consists of certain areas of the skin in particular the face, upper chest and the back, where there are a lot of sebaceous follicles being affected by pustules(pimples), papules(pinheads), nodules(large papules), comedones(blackheads and whiteheads) and seborrhea(scaly red skin).While acne is associated with teenage years and is often a result of hormonal changes, specifically increases in testosterone levels which both sexes can experience during puberty, it can in some individuals reappear continually even into the thirties, forties and older.
What are the causes of acne?
Acne occurs due to blockages in follicles, which in turn can lead to a block of keratin, the main structural material of the outer structure of the skin, and sebum, a naturally-produced oil causing the various manifestations of acne and in some cases leading to inflammation. While the frequency of acne during adolescence reflects the hormonal changes concomitant with puberty other hormonal activity such as menstrual cycles can exacerbate the prevalence of acne. The increase in male sex hormones known as androgens for instance during puberty can result in follicular glands increasing in size and resultantly producing more sebum. While the developing of acne in adulthood is rare it can someties reflect an underlying condition such as a pregnancy or it can in reality be a condition which is linked to the older age-range in particular rosacea which has a number of comparable featues.
There is a distinct genetic component to the development of acne and it has been observed that the propensity for it occuring is correlated to a high incidence within family history. While there is not definitive evidence of psychological factors having a great bearing on acne flare-ups and where this has been observed it is not definitively known whether the acne caused the stress or the reverse, it is certainly considered by most authorities to be an aggravating component.
One particular type of bacteria known as propionibacterium acnes is the species widely understood to underly the occurence of acne. In dietary terms it is commonly considered the case that high glycaemic loads are correlative to exacerbating acne, as well as the consumption of milk.
What are the symptoms of acne?
As previously noted there are various manifestations of acne vulgaris including pustules(pimples), papules(pinheads), nodules(large papules), comedones(blackheads and whiteheads) and seborrhea(scaly red skin) as well as the occurence of scarring as a net result of the above. Acne scars occur due to the inflammation within the dermis instigated by the acne, and the severity of acne is often assessed on the basis of the degree to which the skin becomes inflammed which in turn leads to the wound repairing itself and overproducing collagen in that particular area. This often leads to in the case of severe acne the pitting effect which is a result of the indentation in the outer layer of the dermis however other examples of this can be more outward-projecting scars which are known as keloid scars.
What is the best treatment for acne?
Acne is a ubiquitous problem and practically everyone will have at least known people who have suffered from it at some stage in their life (most oftenly in adolescence). For this reason there have been many treatments which have been proposed and been developed in the marketplace as the best to use during flare-ups, as a means to manage its severity or to address underlying causes. Some of the most common treatments include antibiotics which can range from tetracyclines administered in mild to moderate cases to isotretinoin which is normally only prescribed in severe cases of cystic acne where other treatments have failed; benzoyl peroxide which is a cream or gel usually advocated as an initial treatment to incidences of mild to moderate acne; hormonal treatments often sugested in the case of females; and topical retinoids, a medication which have mild side-effects however sometimes cause an initial degree of aggravation of the acne followed by a reduction in its instances.
Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can be beneficial in the case of milder cases of acne and normally in conjunction with other treatments such as tetracycline or use of direct-to-skin products such as benzoyl peroxide. In the case of dealing with the results of long-term acne scarring procedures such as dermabrasion, phototherapy such as blue and red light, laser treatment and photodynamic therapy are sometimes prescribed in the case of moderate to severe acne by dermatologists as well as in virulent cases of cystic acne, sometimes surgery. While the procedures and treatments discussed will all be advocated by a general physician or dermatologist by referral and diagnosis other treatments which are routinely self-prescribed and considered by some to be effective include use of tea tree oil, aloe vera oil, bentonite clay-masks and modifications to diet already discussed such as reduction in glycaemic loads.
Where can I find the best treatment for acne?
All the above treatments can be found in your local chemist (some will require a prescription), however, it is our recommendation to you to always consult with your local GP before undertaking any final treatment.
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