Acne is a very common and pesky skin affliction that affects most people with combination to oily skin at some point in their life. In most cases acne usually debuts early in life (around puberty) and we call it teenage acne, but in some cases it appears later in life (past 20 years of age) and we call it adult/hormonal acne. Acne causes spots to develop on the skin, usually on the face, back and chest. These spots or blemishes can range from papules, black heads and white heads — which are often mild — to deep, inflamed, pus-filled pustules and cysts, which can be severe and long-lasting and lead to scarring.
Why Do You Get Acne?
Acne is linked to your genetics and known to run in families. If both your mother and father had acne, it is likely that you will also have acne. It is most commonly linked to the changes in hormone levels during puberty, but can start at any age.
Acne affects the oil-producing glands next to the hair follicles in the skin. Certain hormones cause these glands to produce larger amounts of oil (sebum). This abnormal sebum changes the activity of a usually harmless skin bacterium called P. acnes, which becomes more aggressive and causes inflammation and pus. The hormones also thicken the inner lining of the hair follicle, causing blockage of the pores (opening of the hair follicles). Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, can also lead to episodes of acne in women.
Using wrong skin or hair products (comedogenic) can exacerbate acne.
Some medications also cause acne.
Friction or rubbing the skin (helmet, hat, tarha/scarf) can also cause acne
There is some evidence that stress and diet also play a strong role in acne.
What Can You Do If You Have Acne?
Keeping your skin clean is important, but will not prevent new spots from developing. Wash the affected area twice a day with a mild soap or cleanser, but do not scrub the skin too hard to avoid irritating it. If your skin is dry, use a moisturizer. While choosing your emollient make sure the product is dermatologically tested and labeled oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it doesn't cause spots.
Sad fact about acne is that it can't be cured permanently, it can be controlled with treatments and proper skincare. Several creams, lotions and gels for treating spots are available at pharmacies.
If you suffer at the hands of acne, it's a good idea to speak to your dermatologist for skincare advice and prevention. Products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide or retinoic acid may be recommended (be careful as these can cause skin irritation and bleach clothing).
If your acne is severe, is leaving behind PIH and scarring or appears on your chest and back, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger treatments that are only available on prescription.
My Acne Prescription
As we have already established there is no cure for acne but it can be controlled by judicious use of skincare and medications here’s my advise on how to keep your skin unblemished and clear even if your gene
For severe and cystic acne that affects the face as well as body and leaves behind scarring you better see a dermatologist as soon as possible before any permanent damage to your skin happen.
If you have acne, you will probably have to treat it for a long period of time — not just during an acne breakout. Work with a dermatologist to determine the most appropriate treatment for your acne, and how long you should follow the treatment regimen. It's important not to stop acne treatment before your doctor says it's okay — otherwise, you run the risk of having another acne breakout just when your skin starts to clear.