Acne is a condition characterized by clogged skin pores causing infection and inflammation. The skin contains glands that produce oil to help protect your body from various irritants. These glands are located in your pores, where hair follicles grow. When a pore gets clogged by oil and bacteria, the body’s immune system responds by causing swelling and creating a pimple. Some people also refer to these pimples as zits, blemishes, blackheads, or whiteheads. Acne can appear on your back, neck, chest, and face. While most mild acne clears up on their own, medical treatments and home remedies can prove useful in lessening the skin blemishes and quickening the process. Acne is most common among teenagers as the body changes during puberty; however, acne can happen at any point in life from infancy through adulthood.
ACNE IN ALL STAGES OF LIFE
There are three periods of life when acne is much more common: infancy, teenage years, and for women, pregnancy. Each of these stages are associated with their own factors. Infant Acne: Baby acne is very common, and can be present at birth, though it usually appears a few weeks later and can last anywhere from a few days to a couple months. The acne tends to occur during a baby’s peak gas production and fussiness, around three to four weeks of age. It will be most prominent while the baby is hot or fussy due to increased blood flow, or when the skin is irritated. Teenage Hormonal Acne: When puberty hits you during your teenage years, the body experiences a spike in sex hormones called androgens. A common side effect of androgen hormones is the overproduction of the sebum oils. Since androgen levels are at an all-time high during your teenage years, it’s incredibly common for teens to develop acne; in fact, 85% of teenagers experience some form of it. Acne During Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a very common cause of adult acne for women. In fact, more than 50% of women experience acne during pregnancy. Acne during pregnancy is likely to occur due to increased hormones levels, known as androgens, in the first and second trimester.
OTHER CAUSES OF ACNE
Stress or lack of sleep: Acne could be caused by stress or be caused by the activities we do when we are stressed. Eating or sleeping poorly as well as not washing your face could be the contributing factor. Getting a full night’s rest can improve your immune system, which can heal acne more quickly. Certain foods: Some foods can contribute to acne, though not as much as people believe. Often knowledge passed around is based on individual experience, not scientific research. It is true that good nutrition helps total body heath, however, specific foods are harder to pinpoint. Dairy: There are some studies that suggest a link between dairy and acne, but whether dairy consumption causes acne is unclear. It may help some individuals, but a dairy-free diet can reduce a person’s calcium and vitamin D intake. General hygiene: Certain hair or skin products can cause outbreaks in different people. Hygiene practices like washing your face multiple times a day or scrubbing too hard can make acne worse.
If the acne does get worse or does not clear up, especially after three months, you should consult a doctor. If the acne leaves scars after healing, the pimples become hard, or is associated with other physical or mental symptoms, like depression, getting treatment may be needed. In general, if you are concerned about your acne, consult a doctor. A wide variety of treatments for acne exist, coming in a range of products from home remedies to acne creams or antibiotics. Each person has to determine a treatment plan that works best for them. Preventative acne care and home remedies for acne can also have great effects on reducing acne. Acne Cream: Acne creams and lotions work best for mild types of acne that consist of bumps with no open sores. Antibiotics: Another treatment option for more severe cases or cases that can’t be controlled using traditional methods is antibiotics in both topical (apply on skin) and oral form. Typically prescribed topical antibiotics are Clindamycin and Erythromycin. Erythromycin can also be found in an oral form as well, complementing other oral antibiotics such as Doxycycline. Isotretinoin: One final treatment option usually reserved for severe cases of acne is isotretinoin, a derivative of Vitamin A. This drug taken by mouth decreases the level of sebum oil and thus improves the condition of severe acne. However, common side effects include dry lips, nosebleeds, and dizziness. Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy shouldn’t consider this option due to a great risk of birth defects. Birth Control: Many dermatologists have used birth control pills for acne for decades. Birth control helps reduce acne by providing synthetic hormones that decreases androgens, which decreases the secretion of oil from skin glands. It is important to note the risks and benefits before taking any birth control for acne.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
1. Video chat with a doctor and send them pictures to help them diagnose your skin.
2. The doctor can send prescriptions for creams, antibiotics, birth control, or other medications to help treat your acne.
3. Pick up your prescription at your pharmacy and let the doctor know if it isn't getting better.