Acne is a common condition affecting the pilosebaceous unit(structural unit of oil glands and hair follicles)in the skin. It can be broadly divided into comedonal(whiteheads and blackheads) and inflammatory(red bumps, Fluid and pus-filled bumps) types. Teenagers have the highest incidence of acne. Adults develop acne too although it is oftern less severe and frequent.
What causes acne?
Excessive oil production (sometimes related to excess male hormones especially during puberty, over-production of hormones by abnormal ovarian cysts and hormonal changes during menses), blockage of oil gland pores, presence of acne-causing bacteria(propionibacterium acnes), and inflammation (cellular reaction of the body to the bacterial action on the oil).
How can we prevent it?
Firstly, underlying conditions causing the acne should be treated. Secondly, it is useful to apply a vitamin A-derivative topical to the skin at night to prevent acne formation. Thirdly, remove excessive oil with soap (preferably containing salicylic acid), toner and facial blotters.
What are the present acne treatments?
Topical medication, antibiotics, oral contraceptive(females only), oral retinoids(vitamin A derivative) and phototherapy.
Phototherapy is a new treatment. Blue light is shone on the inflamed ares. /the light activates the porphyrin present in the acne-causing bacteria, resulting in the release of singlet oxygen to destroy the bacteria.
What are the ingredients in facial products that we should avoid?
Cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate, industrial quality mineral oil, industrial quality petrolatum and vegetable oil are all comedogenic (acne aggravators). Anyone prone to developing acne should only use cosmetics and products that has been properly tested and labeled "non-comedogenic".
Provide some tips on acne skincare.
Some acne cleansers (especially those with salicylic acid) and acne topicals can be drying and somewhat irritating. If one is affected by these, it will be helpful to apply a bland non-comedogenic moisturizer about half an hour after topical medication.
Ladies who use makeup should inform the doctor about what they use, so their doctor can prescribe an appropriate formulation of the topical and advise on the right sequence to apply.
Men who sweat a lot and have oilier skin may need to cleanse their faces more than twice a day. Their acne medication should preferably be in the form of a gel or solution. If the oil is cosmetically disturbing, they can use a mattifying moisturizer about half an hour after applying the acne medication.
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