Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics reveals whether you can cure acne and some lesser-known facts. Read on to know more.
More than 90% of the entire world’s population suffers from acne at some point in their lives. Acne troubles rank as the number one skin trouble for which people seek a dermatologist’s opinion. Age, gender, geographical location has got nothing to do with acne; instead, it is your skin type, hormones, and intrinsic conditions that cause acne.
Acne does not discriminate on location either, it can appear on the face, neck, chest, back or anywhere else on the body, and there are many types to it. Even the comodones (blackheads and whiteheads) are a type of acne, other types include papules, cysts, nodules, or pustules.
The most common advice that people suffering from acne get is to wash their face to ‘clean’ the skin. Getting rid of acne is not as simple as just splashing water on your face. That the acne is caused because of exposure to dirt-eating a poor diet is one of the biggest myths, which leads to most people opting for misguided treatment options or going on harmful diets, which do more harm than good.
What causes acne?
Acne happens when the pores (also known as hair follicles) of the skin become plugged with the extra natural oil and dead skin cells. The plugged follicle is the perfect breeding ground for the acne bacteria in the trapped sebum causing the hair follicle to become enlarged and form a bump. The redness that you see around the acne is the body’s natural response to fighting the acne infection. Our body sends white blood cells to the acne site to fight the infection when they die; they combine with the dead skin and sebum to create the pus-filled acne.
Acne is most common in pre-teens and teens because of the hormonal changes that happen in their body. The second most affected population with acne is of women in later ages. Hormones, PCOS, endocrine diseases, pregnancy, and oral contraceptives are common culprits. Stress and steroids are some of the other common triggers of acne.
Cure or treatment?
In most of the people, acne clears automatically but in some, it becomes a recurring nightmare. There is no cure for acne and there is definitely no magic bullet available that will get rid of the acne overnight. Modern treatments and compliance to your skin doctor or dermatologist’s advice can help you get clear skin and prevent acne from reoccurring:
Creams, lotions, gels, soaps: Once your dermatologist okays it, there are many over the counter medications for acne that you can use without prescription. Look for ingredients like:
Benzoyl peroxide cleansers kill acne-causing bacterial and remove the excess oil.
Salicylic acid breaks down skin cells and oil before they can clog the pores and prevent the formation of blackheads.
Vitamin A retinoid help clear up the skin
Sulfur removes dead skin cells and reduces oiliness
Isotretinoin: Only to be taken under strict supervision, this powerful drug is as close to curing as you can get to for acne. Used to treat mild to severe acne Isotretinoin is known to have long-term effects. It helps control oil production.
Light treatments: Blue light treatments are FDA-approved therapy for treating acne and kill the bacteria on skin.
Chemical peels: Glycolic acid peels exfoliate the skin, clear up the clogged pores, and brighten the skin.
Cortisone injections: These special injections reduce the redness, inflammation swelling and pain caused because of acne breakout and flatten the cysts within a few days.
Depending on the extent of acne, your dermatologist might use a combination of treatment methods to supress acne. Here is what you can do to foster the treatment results:
Don’t stop using the treatments immediately after your skin clears.
Use gentle cleansers on your skin and do not scrub, pop or scratch a pimple out
Acne medicines dry the skin so make sure you use a suitable light moisturizer every day
Your skin might become sensitive to the sun especially after chemical peels, so make sure that you take adequate protection from the sun.
Stay away from oily, heavy makeup and hair products
Never ever go to bed with makeup on
Clean your phone regularly and keep your hands away from your face
Men should avoid shaving with a regular razor instead opt for an electric one
Apply the medication only to the problem areas covering them with a thin layer. No need to slop on the medications.
Staying away from food items with high sugar and carb contents and dairy can help reduce the severity of but they don’t cure the acne.
No matter what the advertisement boards say, acne treatments take about six to eight weeks to show their effect. Try not to bet stressed and let acne affect your emotional wellbeing. Acne treatment depends on the severity, type, and location of the acne and the results of the treatment depend on your determination and motivation to follow through. Consistency goes a long way in keeping the pesky acne away from your skin.