The skin’s tiny pores are often clogged due to excessive oil formation and shedding of dry skin.

Acne, one spot less ! | February 28, 2019

“Please God, marks kam kar do!” This sincere plea of many a teenager is touchingly captured in a popular advertising commercial. In an attempt to reduce the onslaught of acne most reach out to a variety of over-the-counter products and household remedies. And when these unpleasant skin eruptions refuse to budge, it marks the beginning of shying away from public contact, relentless teasing, and limited outdoor activity. So, what does one do to prevent acne? Is there no permanent cure? Here’s an attempt to answer such questions…

To begin with, one needs to understand how acne is formed. The skin’s tiny pores (containing hair follicles and oil glands) are often clogged due to excessive oil formation and shedding of dry skin. This leads to acne – a condition that is further aggravated by bacteria and dirt build-up. In a human body, the face, neck, back, and arms are the main areas majorly affected by acne.

What Causes Acne?

To someone facing acne, it might be important to understand the contributing factors of acne.

• Medication: For those who run towards the nearest medical store at the first sight of acne, watch out for non-prescriptive medicines containing bromides, lithium, androgens, and corticosteroids as they fuel acne rather than dousing it.

• Hormones: Both boys and girls experiencing puberty produce androgen hormones that generate more oil. Pregnancy and intake of contraceptives also affect oil production. Knowing that these life phases could induce acne – it’s best to be suitably armed.

• Cosmetics: The layers of make-up applied on the skin to look attractive not only block pores but also gradually damage skin – all factors that add to dreaded acne outburst!

Of course, while you cannot rule out the possibility of babies, young adults, and middle-aged individuals breaking out into acne what’s most commonly observed is that acne takes to teenagers like fish takes to water.It is also seen that while acne is common, knowledge about it is not.

Misconceptions about Acne:

If you’re one of those who believe in the misconceptions around acne, it’s time to bust them:

• Contrary to belief, many studies prove that chocolates and fatty foods have negligible effect on an ‘acne-attack’

• Accumulation of dirt due to sweating does not result in acne. In fact, vigorous scrubbing with harsh soaps is most often the culprit for dry skin and this worsens the acne condition

• Nearly, every individual suffers from acne at some point in life and it is not hereditary (except in severe cases of acne)

Dealing with Acne

While acne is mostly synonymous with pimples, what many don’t know is that it could also include whiteheads (specially the closed, slightly raised boils), blackheads (boils that are open at the surface and dark in colour), and cysts (deep, inflamed boils beneath the skin’s surface). If left untreated, severe acne could lead to permanent scars, low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression. No matter what form of acne you have, a few precautionary basic skin care routines could go a long way in controlling acne.

Face wash  regularly and use gentler products. Preferably use alcohol-free skin products and resist the urge to scrub with washcloths, mesh cloths, or anything else that could irritate the skin. Avoid the use of astringents, toners, and exfoliating products as dry, flushed skin can make the outbreak look worse.

Non-prescriptive medications. The application of non-prescriptive medicated creams with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid could help dry excess oil, kill bacteria, and shed the skin’s topmost layer.

Non-greasy products: Cosmetics, sunscreens, and hairstyling products that are water-based or non-comedogenic are more suitable for acne-prone skin as they don’t clog pores.

Withstand the urge to touch your face: Resist the temptation to squeeze, pop, scratch, or rub blemishes to reduce the risk of acne scars or infection.

Consult a Doctor: If there are doubts or concerns about the chances of scarring, seek medical advice.

Sometimes, even after diligently following recommended skin care routines the acne persists, making medical intervention necessary. In such cases, a professional skin examination to determine the extent of the problem will suggest possible medications and treatments for relief. These usually include:

• Topical treatment (applied on skin): Generally, most acne medications prescribed by doctors are topical and stronger in strength than non-prescriptive ones.

• Oral medication: A dermatologist may recommend this option to treat moderate to severe acne. Usually involving a short course in antibiotics, even more potent medicines may be used by medical practitioners to help with scarring cystic acne or other severe acne.

• Laser therapy: In addition to conventional medicines, laser therapy is also recommended by many doctors. With only the use of laser or with a combination of photosensitizing dyes acne can be reduced. There are many reports that suggest that this therapy is safe and effective.

• Chemical peels: Advisable to be administered only by doctors and trained experts, chemical peels are usually used to treat blackheads and papules.

• Acne removal: When cysts do not respond to medication and other treatments, then the doctors could suggest acne removal. Also known as the drainage and extraction procedure, it relieves pain but increases the chances of leaving a scar. For quick results, a dermatologist may also inject medicine into the cyst.

With every spot less you begin a journey to a world of praise and compliments.

Treat the condition with a light hand and even lighter heart and soon like in the aforementioned advertisement your prayer will turn to, “God, please exam mein marks aur de do!”

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