Acne is a very common skin disorder affecting millions of young people. Acne results when the hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells and oil. Acne typically occurs on the face and neck but it can also occur on the back, chest, and shoulder. The majority of people who develop acne are in the prime of their life and this causes significant distress because of poor cosmesis. There are many treatments for acne but by far the majority do not work. The earlier the treatment for acne is undertaken the lower the risk of emotional stress and development of acne scars.
What are signs of acne?
1. White heads which are closed pores.
2. Blackheads that are open pores.
3. Small red tender bumps.
4. Large painful bumps on the skin.
5. Painful lesions filled with pus.
The majority of people are distressed when acne lesions appear. Thus, the most common reason to see a healthcare provider is because of poor cosmesis. Unfortunately, many people also rush to buy all types of lotions, creams, and potions to apply on their skin. The end result is worsening of acne as none of these commercial acne products have been shown to work. In fact, many contain synthetic chemicals, which may further aggravate the acne.
Why does acne occur?
In acne, the hair follicles become plugged with oils and dead skin cells. This creates an environment for bacteria to thrive. If the closed pores become infected, inflammation results. This is the reason why acne lesions look red and inflamed.
What factors worsen acne?
Even though the exact cause of acne is not known, there are some factors that can worsen acne. The factors include:
1. Male sex hormones like androgens tend to make sebum and this can cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge.
2. Certain medication like lithium, corticosteroids, and androgens can worsen acne. Bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids will develop severe acne.
3. Even though diet does not cause acne, there are some foods that may trigger the skin lesions. Some people who eat chocolate will have an increase in the number of acne lesions.
4. Stress is known to aggravate acne.
Some Acne myths
There are many myths related to acne some of which include the following:
1. Oily foods cause acne; there is no evidence that such a diet worsens acne.
2. Poor personal skin hygiene is the cause of acne; while dirt will make the skin look old and dirty, it does not cause acne.
3. Cosmetics do not cause acne but the synthetic chemicals inside the products may cause irritation of the lesions. Some oil-based cosmetic products may cause pores to clog up.
The diagnosis of acne is made by a physical exam.
How is acne treated?
The majority of people seek treatment for acne because of poor cosmesis. There are hundreds of products for the treatment of acne. By far the majority are nothing more than scams and shams.
One may seek assistance from a dermatologist who can help control the acne with the right type of medications. Today there are several prescription medications that can be used to treat acne. There are both topical and oral medications used to treat acne. One always starts with a topical medication first.
Overall the retinoids appear to work the best but they do have undesirable adverse effects especially when given to women of childbearing age.
Because medications do not work consistently in everyone with acne, there are other treatments that can also be used to treat acne; the list include:
1. Copaiba Oil
Copaiba has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to be helpful in reducing both the redness and swelling that comes with acne in addition to soothing the pain and discomfort that are the hallmarks of this all too common skin condition.
Copaiba oil recipe for acne / skin blemishes
Add 6 drops of 100% pure therapeutic grade copaiba essential oil per ounce of moisturizing lotion (or even a liquid foundation if you use that and apply evenly as part of your normal morning routine. For problem areas apply 1-2 drops of copaiba oil to a teaspoon of jojoba oil or organic aloe vera gel and apply as needed. This represents a 1-2% dilution which should be both gentle enough for sensitive skin while remaining effective.
2. Light therapy
3. Chemical peels
No matter what treatment approach you take, there are things you can do at home to prevent acne: 1) this means washing your face with a bland soap 2) maintaining good skin hygiene 3) avoiding products like facial scrubs that are harsh on your skin 4) and removing oil from your skin frequently.
Never pick your acne as this will result in a permanent scar that is very difficult to treat.