Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of Acne Vulgaris or Acne
There are some very few things you can count on in life and one of them is acne vulgaris or acne. It is also called ‘with the name pimple or ‘common acne’ because nearly everyone suffers from it at one point of their life. However, skin acne are more common in teenagers who in my opinion take it way too seriously. In this article we will learn about acne vulgaris, acne causes, acne symptoms, acne treatments and acne cure. We will also see adult acne, pimples, skin acne, skin acne and skin disease. Many people’s story of acne goes back to that one day you looked in the mirror and noticed something off on your face, you looked closer and damn, it looked gross.You panic and start looking for all sorts of ways to get rid of your skin acne fast, lest you face social suicide at school. No one really manages to take care of it though and you spend the rest of the day or even the week hang over because of just a few pimples on your face.
Skin acne causes a lot of social problems for teenagers and even in young adults because of some myths about acne causes. Many people believe that it is a sign of dirt on your skin mainly because you sweat too much or don’t wash up well. For teenage girls who are the most affected from acne during their puberty, acne might even cause them to miss school for fear of being ridiculed at school.
It is important to know that the stated acne causes are nothing but myths, acne is a biological condition rather than the skin’s reaction to sweat or dirt. It is also important to know that adult acne is very common, about three quarters of people develop adult acne at one point of their lives especially between the ages of 13 and 30.
Causes of Acne Vulgaris
Now no one really knows the exact causes of acne. There are many journals of scientists claiming to have found links between some foods or some actions to acne but nothing definitive for acne causes has ever been recorded. There are however documented reasons why acne occurs mostly among teenagers than adults and fortunately there are ways that you can prevent acne or even seek acne treatment if you have acne or are prone to them.
For one to understand the causes of acne vulgaris it is important to first know how your skin works. Your skin has pores that are evident to the eye and these pores have oil glands. These glands produce oil that is mostly dead cells.
The reason why acne vulgaris occurs mostly among teenagers, specifically about 85% of all teenagers have acne vulgaris, is down to hormones.
Androgen hormones is produced during puberty and the androgen include the male hormone testosterone. These hormones cause the body to produce more sebum which is the oil produced in the skin. It is important to note that adolescence is when the sebaceous glands of the skin come alive. Most teenagers thus have very oily skins which is a factor that can increase the risk of one getting acne vulgaris.
Testosterone and other hormones in high production cause an over production of oil, too much oil can block the pores or the hair follicles. The blockage creates a suitable environment for the breeding of bacteria. Here it is important to know that not all the bacteria on your skin is related to acne or even bad at all. It is a rather interesting fact that most of the bacteria living on you or inside your body serve an important role for the optimum functioning of your body organs including the skin.
However, when the environment is changed, bacteria will tend not to act in your favor. A good example in our case, is the bacteria Propionibacterium Acnes. This is a bacteria that lives on the skin and usually does no harm. When the pores are blocked with oil which in a sense are dead skin cells, the bacteria Propionibacterium Acnes goes to act on the skin cells and form a pustule that appears in the form of a red inflamed pimple or acne.
The inflammation can grow to become a large cysts as oil and bacteria keep accumulating in the pore.
Much of the oil is produced on the face, back, chest and the neck. This is why these places are the most susceptible to acne than the others. When inflammation continues to worsen it leads to whiteheads or blackheads that are also called “comedones” among dermatologists.
Who Is More Likely To Have Acne Vulgaris
With that said, it is important to note here that the main causes of acne vulgaris fall to hormones. The hormone testosterone is present in both males and females but it is mostly active in males. It comes as no surprise that it is teenage males who are more susceptible to acnes than their female counterparts. During adolescence the body receives a sudden rise in production of testosterone and this leads to more production of oils on the skin that as we have seen above leads to acnes vulgaris or pimples.
Women and girls however do develop acnes mainly due to the hormonal changes that occur during menstrual periods and pregnancy. These hormonal changes are the main reasons why more women than men develop acnes in adulthood. These hormones are also found in birth control pills and might worsen the situation. The effect of contraceptives on women varies differently from one woman to another. There are also different types of contraceptives and not every one of them causes acne vulgaris. For instance, intrauterine birth control devices (IUD) have been related to causes of acne vulgaris in women.
Acne can also occur in children and in babies. It is important to note here that acne is not fatal and most of the times it is not a symptom of anything worse. Some mothers worry that when acne appears on their babies it may be something worse.
As such, there are two subtypes of acne. One is acne neonatorium which is the one that experienced by teenagers and adults, and acne infantum which is the one experienced by infants and new-borns, especially boys. Both types are more or less the same with the only difference occurring in age. Acne infantum however is much more severe and can lead to scarring.
Debunking the Acne Myths
With all that stated it is important to note that many of the myths surrounding acne vulgaris have been totally debunked. The most common myth of skin acne is that it is caused by dirt or sweaty skin. As mentioned earlier, skin acne is a result of over production of oil and not sweat. Production of oil is not dependent on sweat production or physical activity, it is a result of the hormonal balance activities in your body. This belief that acne is caused by sweat or dirt on the skin causes people to scrub their face really hard with soap and your hands when a zit appears on your skin. This only ends up making the situation worse as it increases irritation in your skin making your zit or cyst become worse or swell up more…
However hygiene is still very important especially to people who have sensitive skin. Sometimes the cause of your pimple or skin acne is oil from other people’s skins that gets to you when you touch stuff like shopping bin. Such things have a lot of dead skin and oil from other people. For people who are sensitive to acne vulgaris, it is important to keep your hands and your face clean. Don’t over scrub it though, just use a hand towel and some soapy water to wash your face.
Acne vulgaris is also not a result of high sex drive. This is sometimes the most embarrassing myth about the condition that has no scientific basis at all. As stated earlier, these are hormones which are responsible for the production of oil on your skin being the cause of acne vulgaris. The production of these hormones does not substantially increase due to your sexual activity and thus sex does not directly correlate to acne vulgaris. It is however important to keep your body clean and wash up after any sexual activity due to the physical contact involved.
Eating junk food also does not cause the acne vulgaris. The reason many people relate junk food with acne vulgaris is because people who eat a lot of junk food are usually couch potatoes; and this might lead to production to a lot of oil that actually causes acne vulgaris.
See 12 healthy foods which are good for your skin too apart from loosing weight.
It is rather interesting to note that recent studies have linked stress to acne vulgaris. This is why for teenagers, on their first day of school or before a big day, develop acne because of increased stress. Stress causes an imbalance of hormones leading to increased production of oil on the skin that then causes acne vulgaris.
In truth acnes should not be a cause for embarrassment for anyone, as they are not anybody’s fault but rather come down to nature. Recent researches by scientists have linked acnes to genetics. Indeed it is true that if your family has a story of acne vulgaris then you are more susceptible. Also noteworthy is the fact that acnes seem to affect Caucasians more than people of African descent or even Asians.
Acne Vulgaris Symptoms
The acne symptoms are pretty clear for anyone to see, especially if you have them on your face. Acnes appear on places with the most oil glands, including the neck, chest, back and face.
While the pimples are mostly swellings on the skin they differ a bit in terms of the severity on the skin.
Clogged pores that include blackheads, whiteheads and your everyday pimples are the least damaging and easiest to treat.
Papules and pustules are mostly lesions that have a bit of pus in them. They are more severe than pimples but they are also easily treatable and they also often do not leave scars on the body.
Cysts however do leave scars and they are filled with pus or fluid. If cysts appear on your body it is prudent to seek the help of dermatologists who will help to reduce the damage on your skin and possibly restore it to a healthy state.
Acne Vulgaris Treatments
Most people develop only the mild form of acne vulgaris; that is pimples and pustules. These can be treated by OTC (over the counter) medications without a prescription from the doctor. Most of them are acne cure creams that can be applied to the skin. Due to the large number of people that develop acne vulgaris over their lives there is a huge demand for acne treatment products to cure acne.
Suppliers meet this demand of acne treatment with lots of products each promising to cure acne in the shortest time possible. However, no matter the branding or the supplier, most of them contain the same chemicals that are used to cure acne vulgaris.
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl Peroxide, a white crystalline peroxide, is one of the most common chemicals used in treatment of acnes. It acts as a peeling agent that clears pores in your body by killing the bacteria that accumulate in them. This will in turn slow the production of oils and eventually cure acnes. See few of the Benzoyl Peroxide medications in recommended medications list below.
This is the oldest form of acne treatments; in fact not only to cure acnes but for a majority of skin diseases, skin infections and illnesses like eczema. It is surprising though that scientist do not know how sulfur exactly works in the acne treatment process but a common theory is that it oxidizes to sulfuruous acid which is an antibacterial and a reducing agent which cure acen. See few of the Sulfur medications in recommended medications list below.
3. Azelaic Acid
Azelaic Acid occurs naturally in rye, wheat and barley. The acid does a lot to stop the process of acne inflammation by stopping oil eruptions and also reducing growth of bacteria in skin pores. It is mostly useful for people with darker skin who as a result of acne vulgaris have dark patches on their skin. See few of the Azelaic Acid medications in recommended medications list below.
This is mostly used to cure whitehead and blackheads acnes. It is obtained from resins and can also be used to treat other skin diseases like psoriasis and dandruff. See some Resorcinol medications in recommended medications list below.
Though there are huge number of medications available in market to cure acne, but these are few of the most widely used acne treatment products which got nice reviews on amazon. You can find them in local stores near you or can buy online on amazon at attractive discounted prices.
For more severe cases of acne vulgaris like cysts, you will need the care of a specialists. A cyst that is close or has already ruptured can be very damaging to the skin as it causes scarring. At this stage, a dermatologists might recommend injection with a diluted corticosteroid that treats the cysts and most importantly prevents scarring from cyst acne. Other drugs such as isotretinoin, some oral antibiotics and oral contraceptives can also be used to treat cysts.
Acne Vulgaris – Self Management Tips
As stated earlier there are people who are more susceptible to skin acne than others due to genetic and biological factors. For such people, skin care has to be taken to ensure that they reduce the risk of developing acnes often.
First you have to ensure that your hands and face are always clean to prevent acne caused from infections. Clean your whole skin regularly but mildly using non–drying soap. While doing that you have to ensure that you do not stress your skin by rubbing too hard with a towel, just pat gently and leave it be. You will be doing more harm than good by rubbing your skin too hard.
You should also try to refrain from using make up if your skin is prone to acne vulgaris. If you have to, apply lightly and ensure that you remove it when you are going to sleep by washing your face.
Make sure that your hair is shampooed well. Some people have oily hair that will touch your face and increase the risk of developing acne vulgaris. Also ensure that your hair is combed well and pulled back to decrease contact with your skin.
Mistakes Made When Dealing With Acne Vulgaris
The first mistake people with acne vulgaris make is scrubbing the skin too hard. As stated earlier, scrubbing does not cure acne but only worsens the situation. It is instead recommended that you use a pH balanced cleanser when cleaning your face.
One other common mistake is to pick at pimples or try to pop it. Once you see it on your face many people including me imagine that there is something beneath the swelling that simply has to be removed. So they try popping it first using their fingers and if that doesn’t work they start using sharp tools. This is a very dangerous method and can do more harm by pushing the acne infected material much deeper into the skin.
Once you get your acne medication many people still make a lot mistakes. Some, who want fast results, may over use the medication and instead make the skin more red and dry. Others may instead under use the medication by stopping once the pimples or pustules have ‘melted’ away. It takes between 6 and 12 weeks for one to completely heal of acne vulgaris.
In some cases, people might feel irritated on the skin due to the ointment they apply, don’t stop. It is recommended that you give the ointment at least one month to see if it has yielded any tangible results.
Also ensure that you use only one product at a time to cure acne. Adding one ointment on another might cause irritation and even distress the skin, making the lesions bigger. Try only one product at a time and wait for the results, make a change only when sure that the current medication is not working for you.