My sister has acne. Like really bad acne on her face and while trying different remedies for her I started to learn a few things about this "condition".
One of the most difficult and challenging periods of a person's life is represented by the teenage period. This is the time when you build and contour your personality and make the choices that will define your life in the future. In the same time, you want to be liked and to belong to a group of friends. In addition to that, you will have to face the changes that your body passes to transform you from a child to an adult. Unfortunately, this transformation also involves some negative aspects such as the growth of new unwanted hair in many places and the apparition of the nasty pimples. Everyone has faced this problem at least once in his other life. Pimples are that ugly swelling that appears on our face and make our life worse.
In fact, this is a condition known as acne or in a medical term acne vulgaris. The word acne comes from the Greek "acme" meaning the highest point. This skin disease represents the swelling of the base of the hair follicles where the sebaceous glands are situated. Acne is particularly common among teenagers, but there are some cases in which acne can last into adulthood. The human parts affected by this condition are face, chest, back neck and shoulders.
The sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance known as sebum. This substance is used to carry the dead skin cells through the hair follicles to reach the surface of the skin. In each follicle grows a small piece of hair. In people with acne these glands secrete more sebum and in combination with dead skin cells, dirt or bacteria can clump together into a plug and block the follicles, forming an accumulation of oil under the skin known as a pimple. For example, a bacteria known to thrive in these conditions is P. acnes, which can cause inflammation of the skin if it is present in great numbers.
Acne is believed to affect people during puberty when the sebaceous glands start to release sebum, being stimulated by androgen hormone produced by adrenal glands.
Rising the androgen levels may cause the growth of the sebaceous glands which leads to a higher production of sebum and the development of a form of acne. There are studies showing that approximately three-quarters of 11 to 30 year-olds are affected by acne at some time. Although is most common among teenagers, there are cases when people in their fifties still have this condition. It affects both men and women, but it may last longer in men due to the fact that men have higher quantities of testosterone, a hormone that can make acne worse.
This condition can have a mild form, which everyone can develop at some time and a more aggressive form which requires a medicinal treatment. There are many types of acne pimples including whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and pustules which are common and can be treated without treatment and nodules and cysts which are clearly visible on the surface of the skin and deep embedded in the skin. If they are not treated properly they can produce damage in the long term causing scars in the skin.
Although there is a lot of interest concerning the development of this condition, the exact cause for getting acne is not known yet. To get the diagnosis and the required treatment you should see a dermatologist or other health care provider who will examine your affected skin.
Scientists believe that acne is triggered both by genetic and environmental factors. The main cause is considered to be the high levels of the hormone androgen which is responsible for the growth of the sebaceous glands and thus of the production of sebum. This triggers a sort of domino effect because the more sebum our skin produces the more likely we develop the nasty pimples. Another cause in women is considered to be the hormone changes during the menstrual period and during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are some studies showing that acne can be hereditary which means that there is a high probability to get acne if someone in your family has it.
In addition to that, there are some factors considered responsible to increase the risk of acne such as certain medications that contain lithium and androgen. This includes some steroid medications such as corticosteroids and anabolic steroids which cause the development of pimples. Another factor which may trigger acne is the usage of greasy cosmetics. Some people have sensitive skin and may get acne of they use cosmetics and skin care products which contain comedogenic agents. In other words, these cosmetics may block pores and cause blackheads. Sweating and humid environments may be considered a risk factor for acne because excess humidity can block pores and develop pimples.
Although it is not painful and affects us only on a superficial level, it can cause serious problems on an emotional level. Due to the fact that it affects our physical appearance, especially our face, we can get a negative self-image lose our confidence and become more stressed. In a long term, this may lead to a low self-esteem and depression
which may interact with our ability to socialize and to get a job. There are also some ungrounded myths concerning acne which can worsen the emotional effects of it. All in all, we should know that acne is not infectious and can be treated. Poor hygiene is not the main cause of developing this condition and we should not judge a person only by his or her physical appearance.Resources: