I am aged 18 and will complete high school soon. Recently, I developed a lot of acne on my face and it really makes me very uncomfortable around my peers. What could be the cause and how do I solve this irritation? Fabrice
Acne is a fairly common problem in adolescence and teen years of life. Exceptionally, some people get it even as adults. It is said to be due to changes in hormone balance hence more in adolescents and teenagers. Women become prone to develop acne during menses and pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives and drugs like corticoids, increase susceptibility to develop acne. It may be one of the skin diseases occurring early in case of HIV infection.
Acne occurs due to blocking of skin pores by oil, dead cells of skin, sebum and bacteria. Too much oil is produced by oil glands, dead skin cells accumulate in pores and bacteria builds up in skin pores. Bacteria called Proprionibacterium acne is also implicated in causing acne. Excess of fried food and white sugar is said to precipitate and aggravate acne, though this is not substantiated by studies. A genetic component also exists. Somebody having a blood relative with acne is more likely to develop them.
Blockade of skin pores causes blackheads, white heads, reddish eruptions, any one or more of these lesions may exist at same time. Acne commonly occurs on face, chest, neck and back. There may be no symptoms or it may be slightly itchy. They are benign and as such do not cause any problem. Only risk is of secondary bacterial infection occurring due to scratching of the acne. Popping the acne can cause permanent scarring on face, adding to the ungainly look caused by it.
Treatment consists of keeping face clean dry and not oily. Oil based lotions and creams are best avoided. The face should be washed with a mild soap and lukewarm water. There are many topical ointments available for treatment of acne. These consist of resorcinol, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and other ingredients. People respond differently to these topical ointments. Antibiotics like tetracycline, erythromycin, clindamycin, are given in ointment form for local application or as tablets, to clear the bacterial infection and subsequent ongoing inflammation.
Derm abrasion is yet another option for clearing persistent or severe acne not responding to other treatments. Here the superficial layer of the skin is scraped off entirely, with the hope that new skin coming will come clean. Acne may also be removed by electrolysis or laser treatment.
Besides there are several home remedies which claim to cure acne or at least suppress them. These are like honey and cinnamon face pack, use of turmeric paste, e.t.c.