Puberty ushers a series of interesting changes; we grow taller and look more mature in preparation for the challenge that’s up ahead i.e adulthood. While all these may seem necessary or at the very least impartial, the zits and pimples that accompany our teenage years are not. Fortunately, these little, red and painful skin imperfections tend to sometimes vanish just as mysteriously as they appeared as we get older. For some of us, however, they tend to stick around longer than we would like them to. That’s acne for you – one of the most common skin conditions affecting millions of young adults around the planet. You can now begin to understand why acne scar removal is a booming industry in dermatological circles.
How Does Body Acne Come About?
Scientifically speaking, acne is the result of progressive inflammation in the area around the pilosebaceous unit. This is the location where the dermis harbours the sebaceous gland and the hair follicle. As you can recall from your biological class, the sebaceous gland produces oil ( sebum ) which is responsible for keeping our skin moist and well lubricated to prevent the entry of pathogens. During puberty, these glands tend to go overdrive and overproduce so much oil that it clogs the hair follicles predisposing the pilosebaceous unit to inflammation. The inflammation then opens the area to bacterial infection which eventually leads to cystic acne.
Is Acne Genetic? Or Just Related to our Diet?
It is common to hear people blaming a certain one-time snack or drink that they had for their acne woes or frequent breakouts. But how accurate is this?
Although there are plenty of theories on what exactly causes acne, scientists and researchers are yet to pinpoint it to one specific food or drink. What we do have, however, is a close association between frequent skin breakouts and foods/drinks of a certain nature. One of the culprits is a diet that consists of high glycemic load and heavily-processed foods. This includes the likes of pasta, white bread, processed cereals, fast food, refined goods, sodas,ice cream and the likes. In short, anything that comes sugar laden out of the box is not exactly helping your complexion.
Truth to this, there are a few research trials that showed how people who adhere consistently to a low glycemic load eating routine tend to have less breakouts and pimples per year compared to folks whose diet lacks unprocessed whole foods. In short, it looks as if the secret to an attractive complexion is a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, unprocessed fish and meat.
Speaking of which, there are also reports that link dairy intake to inflammatory intake. So, you may want to go easy on dairy goods such as processed yoghurt, ice creams, cottage cheese, frozen desserts and whey if you are looking for flawless skin.
Treating Acne and Whiteheads is not Hard But it will Require Plenty of Commitment From You
Usually, the first step to treating acne is evaluating just how bad and severe the problem is. It is advisable to seek a physician’s 2 cents if the acne is proving to be brutally inflammatory. Otherwise, it’s possible to manage a majority of mild cases using home remedies, lifestyle changes and a host of OTC ( over the counter ) skincare products.
Mild acne is often characterized with just a few blackheads, whiteheads and small pimples. The treatment, as you would expect, is not as complicated as that of severe acne. Still, there are no magic wands to be waved and you have to put in the work and wait for one or two months before you start seeing some notable improvements.
- Speaking of which, you can treat mild acne by;
- Limiting washing your skin gently for not more than twice a day to avoid aggravating it
- Substituting abrasive cleansers with gentle ones if you have sensitive or dry skin
- Using a fragrance-free moisturizer instead of the regular ones if you are already on a standard OTC treatment plan
- Normalize wearing sunscreen if you are going to be out in the sun longer than 20 minutes
Also, it is important to remember that skin irritation is expected when using conventional other-the-counter medication to manage mild acne. The irritation, however, should not last more than three weeks after which your skin should have adjusted sufficiently to tolerate the new treatment plan without purging or breaking out.
Over-the-Counter Treatment Products You Can Use to Control Nodular Acne
Most of the time, there’s usually no need to spend a lot of money buying expensive skincare products to treat a mild bout of acne. There are a few OTC medications that work relatively well and do not cost an arm and a leg. More specifically, look for medication that have one or more of the following as active ingredients;
- Salicylic acid
- Benzoyl peroxide
All of these compounds are hugely effective at managing mild acne – combining them will even work better if you can afford it or your skin can tolerate it. Speaking of which, skin irritation is quite a common phenomenon during treatment with most OTC acne spot treatment products and is likely to be a little more intense if you are using two active ingredients at the same time.
Here’s What to do If a Mild Papules Acne Episode Does not Improve Even with Home Care
It is not uncommon for acne symptoms not to improve even with the application of well-selected OTC and home remedies. In such cases, the next course of action ought to be seeking a doctor’s advice on prescription-strength medication. Dermatologists and primary care physicians often use a stepwise approach in the management of acne, something that you could be overlooking by attempting to treat it yourself.
They will, for example, kick start the treatment by prescribing a short course of antibiotics before graduating to more extreme and invasive procedures like laser treatment and pimple extraction. Either way, all will be done to ensure that a flawless skin replaces the angry-looking zits and pits.
Acne Pustules Can Lead to Scarring After Healing
Unlike other skin conditions that heal almost perfectly, acne tends to linger around much longer in the form of scars and marks. Sometimes, if deliberate action is taken to minimize the appearance of these scars, you can have them for a lifetime. Fortunately, thanks to the effort that estheticians have put in developing effective acne scar removers, it’s now possible to reduce the conspicuousness of these marks to the point where they are no longer easily visible.
Still, prevention remains better than cure. It is much easier and cheaper to prevent scarring in the first place than attempting to get rid of it later. There are a few proactive steps that one can take to see this through.
Get in the Habit of Attending to Papules Immediately
Truth be told, to most people, a few pimples may not seem like a medical emergency or a cause of alarm. It is not rare, nevertheless, for inflammatory acne to worsen gradually over time and get out of hand if nothing is done. At this juncture, even if you somehow managed to get the symptoms under control, scarring is almost guaranteed.
Avoid Picking and Popping Whiteheads
It may be tempting to pop your pimples and blackheads, especially if they are itchy, but in reality, you are not doing your complexion any favors. Squeezing and popping pimples introduces foreign bacteria into the dermis thereby worsening the initial swelling. Besides, the scab that follows afterward implies that a scar will most certainly follow even if the acne cleared.
Avoid Irritating your Skin Unnecessarily if you Have a Pustules Breakout
Most breakouts can resolve on their own if not unnecessarily disturbed and the right treatment course is administered. However, this rarely happens since we have a natural tendency of inadvertently worsening our symptoms by irritating the skin, either through our cleansing habits or skincare routine. Learn to be a little gentler on the skin during showers or exfoliating sessions if you have a breakout.
Acne is one of those few skin conditions that may not at first seem serious enough to warrant medical attention but could graduate to a full-blown nightmare if you neglect it. A simple visit to a skincare specialist or dermatologist, for example, can save you a lot of time and money that you would have to spend minimizing acne scars later.