Acne is a very common skin problem in adults. Since acne is more frequently found on the face, acne can have a considerable impact on a person’s self-esteem and confidence.
Aside from the face, acne may also be found on the back, upper trunk, and even on the deltoid areas. It may present as open comedones or “blackheads”, closed comedones or “whiteheads”, pustules, and small breakouts with redness of the skin.
Acne results from the inflammation of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin. The pilosebaceous unit is a collective term for the hair shaft, hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and the erector pili muscle in the skin.
Acne is more common and more intense in body areas where there are many oil glands, known as sebaceous glands. Areas with more oil, or sebum, production are more prone to acne because the bacteria (Cutibacterium acnes) that causes the inflammation, thrives in the sebum.When there are too many bacteria in the sebaceous glands, the pilosebaceous unit becomes inflamed and plugs, known as comedones, are formed.
Increased levels of androgenic hormones, such as testosterone, also cause acne breakouts. Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Since males have higher androgen levels than females, acne is more severe in males than females. Many associated factors can make you more prone to inflammation. A major factor is genetics. If your parents or siblings also manifest with acne, it is highly likely that the cause of your acne is genetics.
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also more prone to acne because PCOS causes androgen levels to increase. Higher androgen levels would then stimulate more sebum production, hence higher predisposition to acne.
Acne can be treated effectively and there are several treatment options for acne. The main goals of therapy include improving the physical appearance, relieve pain and discomfort caused by inflamed pustules and eruptions, and to prevent or reduce scarring.
Acne-causing bacteria, redness, and unregulated oil production can be managed by using purifying skin products that contain nourishing and healing substances. Be careful not to do excessive washing and scrubbing because this may irritate your skin and worsen the acne.
Noncomedogenic products are recommended for people who wear cosmetics. Noncomedogenic moisturizers may be applied on the face to reduce irritation. You may also be prescribed with topical medications such as retinoic acid, tretinoin, and topical antibiotics. It is important to consult your skin expert first before taking any medication for acne breakouts.
To prevent worsening of the acne, you should avoid some products or medications. For example, contraceptives that increase levels of androgens should be avoided. Medications such as corticosteroids, lithium, phenytoin, isoniazid, and medications that contain iodine may also aggravate acne.