Acne is a condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It usually develops on the face, neck, back and shoulders. Acne is a common condition among adolescents, with a reported prevalence of 70% to 85%.
- Oil production
- Dead skin cells
- Clogged pores
- Bacterial infection
Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands produce excess amount of oil and dead skin cells, both of which can build up in the hair follicles. They form a soft plug where bacterias can grow. If the clogged pore becomes infected with bacteria, it leads to an infection.
The plugged pore may cause the skin surface to bulge and produce a whitehead or may open at the surface and darken, causing a blackhead.
Pimples are formed due to blockages and inflammation that develop deep inside hair follicles, producing cyst-like lumps beneath the surface of the skin. Acne does not usually involve sweat gland pores.
Factors that may worsen acne
Hormones: Androgen secretion increases during puberty and causes the sebaceous glands to grow and secrete more oil. Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
**Medications: **Medications consisting of corticosteroids, androgens or lithium can aggravate acne.
**Diet: **Studies indicate that certain food such as those rich in carbohydrate may trigger acne. Dairy products are also linked to increase in acne.
**Stress: **Stress is known to aggravate acne.
Treatment for acne
**Retinoids: **Retinoid drugs are derived from vitamin A and include tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene, all of which have been found effective to treat acne.
**Antibiotics: **Certain topical antibiotics are used to treat acne and they work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing inflammation. The antibiotics are usually combined with benzoyl peroxide to prevent antibiotic resistance. Examples include clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin with benzoyl peroxide.
**Dapsone: **This medication is usually used in combination with a topical retinoid.
**Oral antibiotics: **For severe acne, oral antibiotics are recommended to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. Oral antibiotics include tetracyclines, such as doxycycline and minocycline.