- Acne vulgaris is estimated to affect about 200-300 million people in India alone. It mainly affects teens but it can also affect adults between 15-40 years of age. It is a self-diagnosable condition, with easily identifiable symptoms such as bumps, rashes, boils, pimples, redness, and tenderness.
- However, one should immediately seek a dermatologist’s help for a suitable treatment, as home-remedies or self-medication can lead to scars. A dermatologist does a detailed analysis and then suggests the right treatment method, which can involve oral medication, creams, cleansers or procedural treatment peels.
What Is Acne Vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris is a disorder of the pilosebaceous gland. When the sebaceous gland overproduces sebum, the skin’s natural oil, the hair follicles gets clogged. The pileup of dirt and dead skin cells eventually leads to inflammation and redness.
Acne manifests in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules, all generally referred to as pimples. They can appear on various parts of the body such as the face, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, and back. These pimples disrupt the smoothness of skin and often result in inflammation or scars.
Types and Classification
Based on the type, severity, and extent of distribution, these can be classified into –
- Grade one – the presence of blackheads, whiteheads, inflamed zits
- Grade two – inflamed pimples with pus, aggravated blackheads, whiteheads
- Grade three –large, predominantly pus-filled lesions, a few cysts
- Grade four – large cysts, abscesses
The causes behind acne vulgaris that occurs within the body include –
- Heredity – Genetics play a major role in the chances of acne If either of your parents suffers or have suffered from acne, then you may too.
- Hormones – Hormonal imbalances due to conditions like PCOS can trigger sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, leading to acne outbreaks. Certain types of acne are induced by hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc.
Several environmental and lifestyle factors are responsible for making acne outbreaks even worse by aggravating the skin further. These include –
- Stress – Stress alters the activity of sebaceous glands in the skin, thereby leading to the production of excess sebum.
- Medications – Medications containing androgen, corticosteroids, DHEA, and lithium lead to an acne outbreak as a part of their side-effects.
- Diet – Eating certain foods with a high glycemic index can also lead to an acne
- Improper use of cosmetic products – Skincare and make-up products containing chemicals that block the pores leading to acne. Also, using harsh scrubs and exfoliants may destroy the epidermal layer of the skin, leading to acne.
Acne breakouts occur due to the interplay of four primary factors that decide the severity and frequency of acne.
- Excess sebum production leading to acne outbreaks prominently in areas with dense sebaceous glands such as face and neck.
- Follicular plugging of excess sebum and keratinocytes.
- Bacterial activity of P. acnes leading to colonization of follicles.
- Multiple inflammatory mediators released by our body’s defense systems leading to acne lesions and inflammatory reactions.
Signs And Symptoms
Some of the common signs and symptoms of acne vulgaris include –
- Clogged pores with white or transparent lesions
- Redness and inflammation due to bumps and rashes
- Pus-filled pimples, tender to the touch
- Scars and pigmentation
- Cysts with deep abscesses
Acne Vulgaris is diagnosed through the observation of the common signs and symptoms associated with it. A dermatologist thoroughly assesses the causes and then proceeds with the relevant treatment. A primary examination can help determine the underlying causes (e.g. hormones, diet, medications, etc.). After that, the dermatologist will determine the severity and extent of acne (mild, moderate, severe) to help ascertain the right treatment option for you.
Are You At Risk?
In India alone, more than 10 million cases of acne are reported in a year. People with acne vulgaris running in their families, or those susceptible to hormonal imbalances such as PCOS, and those undergoing puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are more prone to acne outbreaks. If you suffer from stress or anxiety and improper lifestyle habits, you put yourself at risk of acne. Seek medical assistance as soon as you experience an acne outbreak to avoid unwanted scarring or pigmentation in the future.
Prevention And Management
- Make sure you wash your face twice a day thoroughly with a mild cleanser, especially after a sweaty workout.
- Avoid using makeup or skin care products with harsh chemicals. Look for labels such as non-comedogenic and oil-free on these products.
- Never pop, squeeze or pick at zits or pimples as this may worsen the inflammation and lead to scarring.
- Always protect your face with a sunblock cream before going out in the sun, even on rainy days.
- Make sure to maintain cleanliness and change your pillowcases every week.
- Stay hydrated as it will help flush out toxins from your body and minimize acne outbreaks.
Self-care may provide temporary relief, but it may not prove effective in the long run especially in cases of moderate to severe acne, which leads to scarring.
Treatment Options Available At Oliva Clinics
- Topical retinoids
- Topical antibiotics
- Oral medication
- Intralesional injections
- Hormonal therapy
- Chemical Peels
READ MORE: Safe And Effective Pimple Removal Treatment
Usually, teenage acne clears up on its own by the mid-20s. Adult acne, found in women up to age 40, needs proper evaluation and treatment. Most adults usually develop mild to moderate acne lesions, requiring immediate treatment before they get more severe. Acne in its various stages can eventually lead to scarring if it goes unaddressed during its early onset.