Youth and Acne
If there is one thing you can rely on as a teenager, it is acne. More than 85% of teens have this common skin problem, characterized by closed pores (whiteheads, blackheads), painful acne, and, sometimes, hard, deep lumps on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, back, and upper arms.
If your mom and dad have acne, you are more likely to get it yourself. But there are many ways to prevent (and treat) acne today to keep your complexion in place, prevent scars, and leave your skin glowing.
What Causes Acne?
To understand acne, you need to know how your skin works. The pores on your skin contain oil glands. When you get to puberty, there is an increase in sex hormones called androgens. Many hormones cause oily glands to overwork, grow and produce more oil or sebum. When there is too much sebum, the pores or hair follicles close through the skin cells. The increase in fat also causes an overgrowth of bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes.
If the closed pores become infected or inflamed, acne – a red spot in the center of the white area. If the hole closes, closes, and then explodes, you have a white head. Blackhead occurs when the hole closes, remains open, and the surface is black due to oxidation or exposure to air. (This has nothing to do with the fact that the skin is “dirty”).
When bacteria grow in the blocked pore, a pustule may appear, which means that the acne becomes red and swollen. Cysts form when the blockage and inflammation within the pores produce large, painful lumps under the skin.
Hormonal changes related to birth control pills, menstruation, and pregnancy may cause acne. Other causes of acne include acne on the face and cosmetics, hair dyes, and oily lotions – all of which can increase the pores.
Clothing that scrubs your skin can also make acne worse, especially on your back and chest. As well as heavy sweating during exercise, as well as hot and humid weather.
What Are the Symptoms of Acne?
Although the symptoms of acne vary in size, you will notice these symptoms in areas of your body that have large oil glands (face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms):
- Closed pores (pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads)
- Papules (suggested sores)
- Pustules (raised red sores)
- Cysts (nodules full of pus or fluid)
The worst form of acne lesion is whitehead or blackhead. This type is also easily treated. With most acne, you may need prescription medication to reduce inflammation, infection, redness, and redness.
What is Acne Treatment?
Treatment usually depends on how serious the problem is. For example, if you have occasional acne, you can use skin compounds that contain:
- Azelaic acid
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Retinoids (vitamins from vitamin A)
- Salicylic acid
- Various fruit acids
Benzoyl peroxide reduces fat production and has antibacterial properties. But use it with caution, as it may leave your skin dry and flaky. (It may also wash clothes, towels, and bedsheets.) Try to use it just before bedtime.
Resorcinol and sulfur, as well as prescription retinoids and antimicrobials applied to the skin, can reduce blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules.
When more pustules or cysts appear on the face and surface of the body, you will need lethal oral medication. Your doctor may also inject cysts with anti-inflammatory steroid solutions to help reduce their size.
For chronic acne, antibiotics (taken orally) are usually used. Some antibiotics have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These are usually given for temporary use (usually a few months).
Because acne is associated with hormones, other oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may be helpful. But not all birth control pills do stop the acne, and some even make it worse.
Clascoterone (Win Levi) is a new top twice-daily cream that blocks androgen hormones in the area and fights inflammation. FDA approved for both boys and girls 12 years of age and older.
Pregnant women or potentially pregnant women cannot use this medication, as it is linked to birth defects. Isotretinoin can give people very dry skin, dry eyes, and irritability and requires blood tests to monitor for inflammation of the liver, high blood fat content, and bone marrow compression. It can also be very expensive.
Can I Prevent Acne?
There are steps you can take to prevent acne. To prevent oily skin that can cause acne, keep your skin clean. Wash your face and neck twice a day with cool soap and warm water. But never rub your face! That can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
When Should I Call My Doctor About Acne?
Whether you have fewer acne or severe acne, talk to your primary health care provider about treatment. Early acne treatment is the key to avoiding chronic scars.
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