Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Does Your Acne Speak About Your Health?

Understanding Acne and what causes it

The skin is the outer layer, physically visible and exposed to the environmental / atmospheric conditions. Hair follicles, sebaceous glands, sweat glands, apocrine glands, and mammary glands lie underneath the layers of skin. The skin like all other organs in our body also undergoes continuous changes throughout our lives and occurrence of acne is one such change. Acne forms when the sebaceous glands are overactive due to hormonal changes in the body and this generally first occurs during the transition from childhood to teenage years to young adulthood. Acne can form also due to undesirable food habits and stress. Acne does not just occur in teenagers / young adults but can occur even later on in life. 

When too much sebum is produced it forms a plug along with the dead skin cells and blocks the follicle. If the blocked follicle is closer to the skin surface, it balloons out and this formation is known as a whitehead. If the formation of the plug is at the head of the follicle, opening on to the skin surface, it is then called a blackhead. Harmless bacteria that live on the surface of the skin then interact and infect the plugged follicles which cause the surrounding skin to turn red and become sore. The infection causes pus to form leading to spots (zits), nodules and cysts. The areas where the most follicles are found are on the face, upper back and chest and this is the reason why you will find acne occurring in these regions of your skin. 

Types of Acne

1. Few or occasional pimples – this is a mild form of acne and with a few home remedies will go away.
2. Moderate occurrence of pimples is the inflammatory papules stage. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Home remedies and over the counter medications will help.
3. Severe conditions leading to nodules and cysts stage – a stage where consulting the doctor and taking their expert advice and following it would be the best way to go. 

Time to visit a Doctor

When familiar treatments such as washing your face regularly, applying benzoyl peroxide to your skin or managing your stress levels through exercise do not do away with the acne, it is time to take other action.
The time has come to visit a doctor when
  • Your acne gets worse or does not improve after 3 months with home treatment.
  • You develop scars or marks after acne heals.
  • Your pimples become large and hard or filled with fluid.
  • You start to have other physical symptoms, such as facial hair growth in women.
  • Your acne began when you started a new medicine prescribed by a doctor.
  • You have been exposed to chemicals, oils, or other substances that cause your skin to break out
  • You may want to seek medical assistance sooner if there is a strong family history of acne, you are emotionally affected by acne, or you developed acne at an early age.
Severe Acne can lead to scarring and it definitely is the right time to visit your dermatologist, to prevent any further damage to your facial skin. 

Types of treatment for severe Acne

There are three remedies for treatment of Acne:
  • Cortisone and Fade Creams
  • Laser and Filler Treatments
  • Patience
Cortisone cream is applied to help calm the skin, it also helps reduce the inflammation and can be used mostly in simple to moderate acne conditions. 

Laser and Filler Treatments - When acne scars do not fade away on their own, consider booking an appointment with a dermatologist experienced in treating acne scars. With skilled treatment the scars may fade in 5 sessions but the recommended course of treatment is 8 to get a blemish free skin. This is possible using the laser skin resurfacing / fractionated laser technology; this treatment can even out the skin surface and increase new collagen formation to help fill in acne scars.

Cystic acne destroys skin and fat; it can take up to a year for the scars to fade and hence the reason why patience is a necessary ingredient in the healing process.

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