It is very important to understand the factors that cause and worsen Acne in order to take appropriate measures to take care of Acne Prone skin.
The exact cause of Acne is still not established but experts believe, during adolescence our body produces extra sebum(oil), when combined with dead skin cells and hair follicles, they clog pores, when pores get infected with bacteria a plug is formed that causes inflammation.
Recent studies claim inflammation is a cause rather than a result of acne and this makes perfect sense as cellular inflammation triggers the body’s immune system to fight toxic substances and infection, in this battle the body collects white blood cells and sebaceous glands excrete excess sebum (oil) which hinders the body’s natural exfoliation system.
As a result extra dead cells accumulate, setting off a condition called Retention Hyperkeratosis in which the pores get clogged due to excess oil, dead cells and hair follicles, leading to acne.
We all suffer from escalating hormones at some point in our lives that can lead to breakouts. During puberty a surge in hormones is the most common cause of pimples in teenagers. During pregnancy women go through hormonal imbalance, which results in acne or in some cases clearing of acne. Rise in male hormones (testosterone) during periods and menopause can lead to pimples too.
There is no direct link between diet and acne but latest findings suggest people with acne prone skin should avoid foods that are high in Glycemic and Insulin content as they stimulate the synthesis of toxins in the body.
A study demonstrated that diet rich in low glycemic foods and glucose reduced serum testosterone while improving metabolism, these endocrine changes reduce sebum production. Another harmful ingredient if taken in excess that can aggravate acne is iodine.
Excessive iodides are secreted through oil glands, which irritate skin pores and cause acne.
If you have had a pimple just before an exam or an important event, you won’t underestimate the impact of stress on the skin.
To combat stress, the cells act as stress receptors and release stress hormones (cortisol), which leads to excessive oil production resulting in clogged pores. Some people have a habit of scratching their head and picking pimples during anxiety that spreads bacteria and increases acne. Stress can lead to many other skin diseases and make you look older than your age so learn to relax and take a 10 minute break for deep breathing every day.
Certain ingredients in your medicines can trigger acne. The ones to watch out for are. Prednisone, both cortisone and hydrocortisone, lithium, lithium chloride, iodine, phentharmine, thyroid medications, antabuse, sometimes birth control pills can cause acne due to hormonal imbalance too. Drugs such as cocaine and marijuana also cause acne.
Harsh soaps, creams, lotions and topical ointments can further irritate the skin by clogging the pores.
Makeup brushes and other tools that come in contact with skin must be cleaned regularly with an antibacterial soap. Cell phones or other accessories that touch the face must be wiped with alcohol to keep them bacteria free. Lastly, our hands are the dirtiest, they pick up bacteria from whatever we touch. Avoid touching the face and most importantly never try to pick or prick a pimple as it spreads bacteria and cause new zits.
There are two broad categories that acne is divided into:
Also known as comedones, they include whiteheads and blackheads.
It is a more serious form of acne that includes papules, pustules, nodules and cysts. They are red, deep and painful. This type of acne takes longer to heal and can leave permanent scars if not treated timely under medical supervision.
Mostly Blackhead and whitehead:
Severe condition: If your acne condition is moderate to severe do not rely on home remedies or over the counter treatments, seek professional help from a dermatologist as the cause can be much deeper and if not treated timely it can leave permanent scars or cause hyper-pigmentation.
There are many treatments out there for this condition.
Your approach should be well informed and carefully formulated based on the cause, type, severity level and skin type.