What is acne and how can we treat it?

Acne is a condition of the skin that affects hair follicles, leading to pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. Although it is most commonly associated with teenagers, it can occur at any age. Acne can also be a source of emotional stress for those affected by it, and it is important to treat it properly to prevent scarring. In this article, we will provide a detailed overview of acne, its causes, and how to prevent it.

Who Gets Acne?

Acne is most common in teenagers, but it can affect people of any age. It can also worsen or persist to varying degrees. While acne is a benign condition, it is important to treat it because of the possibility of scarring in some cases.

Where Does Acne Occur?

Acne can occur in a number of areas on the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, forehead, chest, shoulders, and upper back. Acne appears in these areas more often because the skin in these regions has more sebaceous glands. However, acne can appear almost anywhere on the body, especially where hair grows. Hair can clog pores along with sebum, which can worsen the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Acne

Acne can occur in a number of different ways and can show up anywhere on the body, though it is most commonly found on the face and upper torso. Signs of acne include pustules, closed or open plugged pores, and, in some cases, cystic lesions

What Are the Causes of Acne?

There are four main causes of acne:

1. Excess sebum production
2. Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
3. Bacteria on the skin
4. Inflammation

Certain conditions can trigger an increase in acne, including hormonal changes, some medications (such as corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium), certain diets (e.g., breads and starches), and stress. While not a direct cause of acne, stress can worsen the condition.

Different Types of Acne

There are several different types of acne, including blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are open bumps filled with sebum and dead skin, while whiteheads are closed. Pimples that look like whiteheads with red rings are known as pustules and can cause scarring when aggravated or scratched. Additional types of acne that appear in more severe cases include nodules, which are very deep, and cysts, which are filled with pus.

Can Certain Foods Cause Acne?

While people often believe that chocolate and greasy foods cause acne, they are not the culprits. Foods that cause acne include skim milk, sugary foods, and whey protein. Another commonly asked question is whether spicy food causes acne. Spicy food does not cause acne, but it can inflame it, as it tends to raise the body's temperature.

Preventing Acne

Preventing acne involves a number of habits and best practices that you can easily incorporate into your life. First and foremost, make sure to wash your face well twice a day with a facial cleanser and use over-the-counter anti-acne treatments such as salicylic acid. Try to avoid touching your face and only use makeup that is hypoallergenic and will not clog pores. Moisturizing is another important way to prevent acne as it helps maintain the moisture balance and equilibrium of the skin. Finally, stay out of the sun as much as possible and avoid scratching or picking at your skin if you do develop some acne, as this can exacerbate the condition.

When to See a Dermatologist

Anyone experiencing acne should consider seeing one of our skin specialists at Alliance Dermatology located in Cape Girardeau, MO. After our evaluation, we can customize an acne treatment plan that is tailored to getting your skin clear. Call us at 573-803-3331 to schedule an appointment.