Acne Causes, Treatment and Symptoms
One common skin condition that arises from clogged hair follicles under the skin is acne. Dead skin cells along with sebum, the oil that keeps the skin from drying out, cause blockages in the pores. This obstruction leads to the formation of lesions, which are often referred to as zits or pimples.
Inflammation is the hallmark of acne, a skin ailment where the oil-producing sebaceous glands are linked to the hair follicles that contain the fine hairs. These glands produce sebum, which leaves the skin through the pore, a follicular opening, in healthy skin. A certain kind of skin cell called keratinocytes lines the follicle. Normally, the keratinocytes migrate toward the skin’s surface when the body loses skin cells.
On the other hand, keratinocytes, sebum, and hair stick together inside the pores when acne occurs. This stops keratinocytes from shedding and prevents sebum from rising to the surface of the skin. This oil-cell mixture fosters the growth of bacteria that normally live on the skin’s surface, resulting in inflammation that is characterized by swelling, redness, heat, and pain.
Lesions or pimples form when the wall of the blocked follicle bursts, releasing germs, skin cells, and oil into the surrounding skin.
Most people find that their acne clears up by the time they are in their thirties. Some people, meanwhile, continue to have this skin condition throughout their forties and fifties.
Who gets Acne?
Although acne may affect people of all racial and age groups, it primarily affects teens and young adults. Acne is more common in boys in their teens and more common in women in their maturity. It’s important to remember that some people may continue to have acne throughout maturity.
Types of Acne, Acne Causes with Symptoms
Acne may be inflammatory or noninflammatory, detail of acne and acne causes is given below;
1. Noninflammatory acne
Noninflammatory acne, such as blackheads and whiteheads, typically lacks soreness or irritation. Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments are often successful in targeting these specific types of acne blemishes.
Salicylic acid is widely acknowledged to be an effective acne therapy, particularly for noninflammatory acne. By gently exfoliating the skin, it helps eliminate dead skin cells and prevents the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in skincare products such cleansers, toners, and moisturizers.
Blackheads (open comedones)
Blackheads appear when a combination of dead skin cells and sebum clogs a pore. The top of the pore stays open while the remainder of it gets clogged, giving the surface its characteristic black look.
Whiteheads (closed comedones)
Sebum and dead skin cells clogging a pore can also cause whiteheads to appear. Unlike blackheads, though, the pore’s top closes and leaves a little bump that peeks out of the skin.
Because of their restricted pores, whiteheads might be more difficult to treat. Salicylic acid-containing products, however, may be advantageous. Topical retinoids are the most effective treatment for comedonal acne. Adapalene, also known as Differing, is currently available as a retinoid over-the-counter. Stronger topical retinoids can be obtained with a prescription from your dermatologist if this option is ineffective for you.
2. Inflammatory Acne
Inflammatory acne refers to the presence of swollen and red zits.
While bacteria can contribute to the blockage of pores, the primary causes of inflammatory acne are sebum and dead skin cells. When bacteria are present, they can trigger an infection deep within the skin, resulting in the formation of severe acne lesions that are challenging to treat.
Consider using products containing benzoyl peroxide to eliminate bacteria and reduce skin inflammation. These products can also assist in controlling excess sebum. Your doctor may suggest combining benzoyl peroxide with an oral or topical antibiotic to treat inflammatory acne. Additionally, topical retinoids play a crucial role in addressing inflammatory papules and pustules.
When there is severe inflammation in the area around your pores, rigid, clogged, touch-sensitive pores occur. This is when papules form. The skin around these pores usually has a pink tint to it.
Deterioration of the walls enclosing your pores might also result in pustules. Pustules are distinguished from papules by the presence of pus inside of them. These protruding lumps appear from the skin and are usually red in hue. They frequently have white or yellow crowns on top.
When irritated and clogged pores become larger and more prone to congestion, nodules form. Nodules are located deeper under the surface of the skin than pustules and papules.
Nodules are usually incurable at home due to their deep position. To successfully handle and clean them up, prescription drugs are required.
It’s very likely that your dermatologist or physician may recommend the oral drug isotretinoin (Sotret). This drug is made from a particular kind of vitamin A and is usually taken every day for a period of four to six months. Isotretinoin successfully cures and aids in the prevention of nodule development by shrinking the size of the oil glands within the pores.
Cysts may develop when a combination of dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria congest the pores, resulting in blockages that occur at a deeper level beneath the skin’s surface compared to nodules.
Cysts appear as sizable lumps that are frequently red or white and can be uncomfortable or painful to the touch. They are considered the most severe form of acne and are often associated with a significant infection. Furthermore, cystic acne is more likely to leave behind scarring.
Isotretinoin (Sotret), a prescription medication, is frequently prescribed to treat cysts. In severe cases, your dermatologist may opt for surgical removal of a cyst.
The occurrence of acne is largely attributed to the obstruction of small apertures in the skin known as hair follicles. These hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands, which are small glands situated near the skin’s surface. Hair follicles, in essence, serve as tiny openings in the skin from which individual hairs emerge.
To keep the skin and hair moisturized and from becoming dehydrated, sebaceous glands are essential. They accomplish this by producing sebum, an oily material. These glands begin to produce an excessive quantity of sebum when acne occurs. Dead skin cells and extra sebum mix to form a clog inside the follicle.
When a plug blocks a hair follicle that is at the skin’s surface, the clogged follicle sticks outward and forms a whitehead. On the other hand, a blackhead arises if the clogged follicle is left exposed to the skin.
Bacteria that often live harmlessly on the skin might enter the clogged follicles and spread once whiteheads or blackheads form. Acne lesions of various kinds, such as papules, pustules, nodules, or cysts, may result from this.
Teenage acne is thought to be mostly caused by elevated testosterone levels throughout puberty. In addition to helping females retain their bone and muscular strength, testosterone, a hormone that rises during this period, is essential for the growth and maturity of male reproductive organs including the penis and testicles.
The sensitivity of the sebaceous glands to changes in hormones is increased. It is thought that increased testosterone causes these glands to overproduce sebum, more than the skin actually needs.
Acne in Families
Because acne has a genetic component, it can run in families. You have a greater chance of getting acne if either of your parents had it.
According to research, you are more likely to develop more severe acne early in life if both of your parents had acne. The study also discovered that you had an increased risk of developing adult acne if one or both of your parents had the condition.
Acne in Women
Women are more likely than males to experience adult acne. It is thought that many women’s swings in hormone levels throughout particular periods have a role in the development of adult acne in many situations.
These incidents include:
- – Menstrual cycles: Acne might flare up again for some women right before their menstruation.
- – Pregnancy: During the first three months of their pregnancy, many women have acne symptoms.
- – Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): A common disorder that can cause weight gain, acne, and the formation of tiny ovarian cysts.
Here are additional potential factors that can contribute to an acne outbreak:
- – Certain cosmetic products, although this is now less frequent due to rigorous testing, resulting in most products being non-comedogenic and unlikely to cause blocked pores or acne.
- – Specific medications, such as lithium (used for treating bipolar disorder and depression), steroids, and certain epilepsy treatments.
- – Smoking, which can exacerbate acne, particularly among older individuals.
- – Diets that consist of high glycemic index (GI) foods, which are known to rapidly raise blood sugar levels.
Symptoms after Acne Causes
Symptoms of acne include;
Acne is typified by recurrent and persistent red patches or swelling on the skin that are frequently called pimples. These swollen spots have the potential to expand further and fill with pus. Lesions from acne usually appear on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and/or upper back.
- Blackheads: Dark patches on the skin with centrally located open pores.
- Whiteheads: Microscopic white pimples beneath the skin without an obvious aperture.
- Papules: Red lumps or swellings that might contain pus.
Nodules are defined by fluid-filled, inflammatory lumps under the skin that are frequently sensitive to touch. These nodules have the potential to develop to a diameter of an inch.
Back acne (Bacne) Acne develops when the skin’s pores, which are linked to hair follicles, are clogged by a mixture of sebum—an oily material secreted by the skin’s oil glands—and debris, perspiration, and dead skin cells. There are several body parts where acne can appear, including the back. Back acne, also known as “bacne,” is most commonly seen in male adolescents, but it can afflict anyone of any age or gender. Sweat-trapping apparel might make the situation worse.
Acne on neck
When the skin cells on your neck become obstructed, acne can develop. Several potential causes include:
- 1. Insufficient regular washing of the neck, particularly after sweating.
- 2. Use of products that could potentially block the skin’s natural oils, such as moisturizers, makeup, sunscreen, or certain hair products.
- 3. Friction caused by clothing or equipment rubbing against the neck.
- 4. Irritation from long hair constantly rubbing against the neck.
Acne on shoulders
The occurrence of shoulder acne can be attributed to multiple factors. Due to the frequent exposure of the shoulders, dirt can accumulate and block the hair follicles. Shoulder acne can manifest in various forms and can range from mild to severe. It is worth noting that certain cases of shoulder acne may resolve spontaneously within a few days.
Acne on chest
Although there are some variables that contribute to the development of chest acne, the creation of acne on the chest follows a similar procedure to acne on other parts of the body. Among these are:
- 1. Not cleaning the breast area right away after perspiration that is too intense.
- 2. Pressure and friction on the skin from bags and clothes.
- 3. Using skin care products with substances that clog pores, such as lotions and creams with oil basis.
Acne near ears
Improperly drained earwax can block pores, leading to the development of pimples in the ear. A buildup of earwax can cause little pus-filled pimples to appear rather than properly cleansing the ear. These pimples can appear anywhere, often in unexpected places. Earaches, hearing loss, and jaw discomfort are among the symptoms of ear pimples in addition to swelling and redness.
Acne near hairline
The natural buildup of oils in the skin and hair causes the very common problem of pimples around the hairline.
Washing your face and hair more often while using less makeup and hair products could assist if you see a rise in the amount of pimples.
To rule out the chance of a more serious underlying problem, you should see a doctor if you are suffering other symptoms such as a fever or cough.
Acne near eyebrows
There are several reasons why you can have acne between your eyebrows, including blocked pores, excessive oiliness of the face, and makeup use. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and lifestyle modifications may all be part of the treatment for this illness.
Treatment Options in Acne Causes
The following are frequently prescribed topical medications for acne:
Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs Topical prescription medications, including retinoids like tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene, are commonly recommended for treating moderate acne. These medications are available in various formulations such as creams, gels, and lotions, and are typically applied in the evening. Usage frequency can range from three times a week to daily.
Retinoids work by preventing the blockage of hair follicles, but they may also lead to increased skin sensitivity, dryness, and redness, particularly in individuals with brown or black skin. Among the retinoids, adapalene is often considered better tolerated.
Antibiotics. Retinoids and antibiotics are frequently used in conjunction to treat acne. Retinoids work well to reduce redness, soothe inflammation, and get rid of unwanted skin germs. Benzoyl peroxide is frequently used alongside medicines to reduce the likelihood of antibiotic resistance.
It’s crucial to remember that topical retinoids, particularly in those with dark or black skin, can make people more sensitive to sunlight and can also cause dryness and redness.
Adapalene is frequently regarded as the most well-tolerated retinoid among those that are now accessible. However, it is typically not advised to treat acne primarily with topical antibiotics.
Azelaic acid and salicylic acid. Azelaic acid, a yeast-produced antibacterial, is effective in treating acne and can be used twice a day. Prescription azelaic acid is recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can also manage acne discoloration. Salicylic acid, available in wash-off and leave-on products, may prevent plugged hair follicles but has limited effectiveness studies and side effects like skin redness and minor irritation.
Antibiotics. Moderate to severe acne may require oral antibiotics like tetracyclines or macrolides to reduce bacteria. Macrolides may be used for those unable to take tetracyclines, pregnant women, and children under 8. To prevent antibiotic resistance, use oral antibiotics for the shortest time possible and combine them with other drugs like benzoyl peroxide. Severe side effects are rare, but they increase skin sun sensitivity.
Combined oral contraceptives Ortho Tri-Cyclen 21 and Yaz are two examples of the four combination oral contraceptives that the FDA has authorized for use as both a contraceptive and acne therapy. Progestin and estrogen are both included in these products.
Even while they can be helpful, it’s crucial to be aware of any possible negative effects, such as nausea, weight gain, and breast soreness. These contraceptives have also been associated with higher risks of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.
Anti-androgen agents In women and teenage girls, spironolactone, also known as Aldactone, may be used if oral antibiotics aren’t working. It functions by preventing androgen hormones from having an impact on the glands that produce oil. Painful periods and breast discomfort are potential adverse effects.
Isotretinoin A derivative of vitamin A is isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, and other brands). Those with moderate to severe acne who have not responded to prior therapies may be administered it.
Severe birth abnormalities, depression, and inflammatory bowel disease are possible adverse effects of oral isotretinoin. Everyone using isotretinoin has to take part in a risk management program that has been authorized by the FDA. They’ll also need to visit their doctors frequently so that any adverse effects may be observed.
Best Home Remedies for Acne Causes
Grapes are a tasty and adaptable snack choice. They may be eaten as a stand-alone snack, chopped up and added to salads, or frozen to make a healthy treat. Grapes aren’t usually linked to acne remedies, though.
The next time you grab some fresh grapes from the fridge, think about using them as an easy way to clean your face. Simply chop two or three grapes in half and massage the flesh all over your neck and face. Dermatologist Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, the director of Skin Specialty Dermatology in New York City, is the source of this advice. Finally, rinse with cool water to give it a revitalizing appearance.
Cucumber Face Mask
Zeichner claims that because cucumbers are moisturizing and skin-soothing, they may have some slight calming effects on skin that is prone to inflammation and acne. It’s crucial to remember, though, that cucumbers cannot cure the underlying zits.
In order to utilize these advantages, Dr. Cook-Bolden advises combining one small cucumber with one cup of oats to produce a paste. Next, apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon (tsp) paste and 1 tsp yogurt on your face. Rinse off the liquid after 30 minutes of leaving it on.
You may try this cucumber treatment even if you don’t have oats or yogurt on hand. Your skin’s texture, which may feel harsh because of acne, may be improved with the cooling and soothing impact of this mask.
Dr. Cook-Bolden advises squeezing one entire cucumber, adding one tablespoon of sugar, and then mashing it. Blend the components thoroughly and smear the blend across your visage. After letting it sit for ten minutes, give it a quick rinse with cold water.
Simple Honey Mask
Honey possesses numerous healing properties. As per the Mayo Clinic, some individuals utilize it as a natural cough syrup and to alleviate the discomfort of a sore throat.
Before applying this mask, cleanse your face with warm water. Following that, apply the honey and allow it to remain on the skin for 30 minutes. Finally, rinse off the honey using warm water.
Yeast and Yogurt Mask for Oily Skin
One teaspoon of brewer’s yeast and a tiny amount of plain yogurt should be combined into a thin slurry to make the mask. Dr. Cook-Bolden advises applying a liberal amount of the mixture to your oily skin regions and leaving it on for a duration of 15 to 20 minutes. Warm water should be used to rinse off the mask. Cold water should then be used to assist seal the pores.
Zeichner claims that oatmeal has moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and skin-protecting properties. It may not be expressly designed to cure acne, but it can help reduce skin irritation and dryness. Zeichner frequently advises patients undergoing potentially unpleasant acne treatments to use moisturizers based on oats.
Mix 2 tablespoons oatmeal, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and enough water to form a paste to make a calming mask. Evenly spread the paste over your face and give it a little massage. After that, give the mask a good rinse.
Turmeric Facial Mask
The necessary ingredients for this acne treatment can be found at spice markets and stores specializing in ethnic foods.
Combine two teaspoons each of sandalwood powder, turmeric powder, and ghee (clarified butter) or almond oil with half a cup of chickpea flour. Add enough water to form a paste. According to Cook-Bolden’s advice, apply the paste to the skin and leave it on for at least five to ten minutes.
Then, use pressure while rubbing the paste with your fingers and palms to ensure complete removal. In the end, make sure to thoroughly cleanse the skin by rinsing it with water.
How to remove acne scars naturally in a week?
Aloe Vera Gel:
Make use of the healing and calming effects of aloe vera gel. Fresh aloe vera gel should be applied directly to the scars, and it should be left on for 30 minutes before being rinsed off. Repeat this process twice daily to promote skin renewal and reduce scar visibility.
Juice from Lemons:
Natural alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) found in lemon juice help to exfoliate skin and fade scars. After applying freshly squeezed lemon juice to the scars, leave it on for ten to fifteen minutes before washing it off. Lemon juice may cause irritation, so be careful if you have sensitive skin.
Utilize honey’s inherent advantages as a humectant that has antibacterial qualities to promote scar healing. After applying raw honey to the scars, let it on for 20 to 30 minutes before washing it off. Regular application can improve skin texture and reduce scar appearance.
Benefit from the fatty acids and vitamin E included in coconut oil, which aid in skin renewal and healing. To moisturize and lessen the appearance of scars, gently massage organic, cold-pressed coconut oil over the affected areas for a few minutes each day.
Oil from Rosehip Seeds:
Use rosehip seed oil, which is rich in vitamin A and necessary fatty acids, to promote regeneration. Twice a day, gently massage a few drops of rosehip seed oil into the scarred areas of your skin. This can lessen hyperpigmentation and promote the regeneration of skin cells.
Make use of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory qualities to reduce redness and improve the visibility of scars. Mix the yogurt or honey with the turmeric powder to make a paste, and then apply it to the scars for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
Maintaining enough moisture is essential for healthy skin overall. Getting enough water in your diet promotes the body’s natural healing processes and helps keep your skin hydrated.
Acne and Diet when Acne Causes
Best and worst foods for acne
Diet, lifestyle, and heredity are all elements that affect acne; food is not the only thing that causes or prevents it. Although the exact association between certain meals and acne is still being investigated, certain foods may make the issue worse, while other foods may help to keep skin healthy. More investigation is required to learn more about the precise effects that certain meals have on acne. Still, researchers have looked at a few possible causes thus far.
Consuming higher quantities of milk, particularly skim milk, has been associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing acne. Although the exact reasons are still being investigated, one theory suggests that the hormones produced by pregnant cows, which are present in their milk, may play a role. Individuals with elevated levels of these hormones in their bloodstream tend to have a higher prevalence of acne.
Sugar and Some Carbs
The probability of developing acne can be raised by eating and drinking a diet high in soda, white bread, white rice, and cakes. These meals quickly raise blood sugar levels because they are heavy in sugar and carbs. They do have a high glycemic index rating, which gauges how food affects blood sugar. The creation of more insulin by the body to decrease blood sugar levels might affect other hormones that promote the production of oil in the skin.
There may be a connection between eating more chocolate and having pimples, according to a few studies, however, the precise causes are yet unknown. It’s interesting to note that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, doesn’t seem to matter.
According to one study, eating chocolate that included 10 times more cocoa did not make people more likely to get pimples than eating conventional chocolate. If you are trying to control your acne, you might want to consider going with dark chocolate instead of milk or sugar.
People with high dietary fiber intake may see an improvement in their acne, while doctors are still unsure of the exact mechanism underlying this benefit. On the other hand, it is known that diets rich in fiber can help control blood sugar levels, which can help avoid acne. Increasing your intake of fiber may be done easily and effectively by including foods high in fiber, such as apples, carrots, beans, oats, and apples in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are high in this specific fish, can help lower inflammation in the body. This anti-inflammatory property could help keep acne at bay. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids help to lower the synthesis of a protein known as IGF-1, which has been linked to the emergence of acne.
Brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts, and selenium are good sources of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which is often deficient in acne sufferers. These nutrients are essential for protecting cells from harm and infections. Although there isn’t enough proof to say that antioxidants cure acne, they do have a number of other positive health effects on the body.
As a result, adding nuts to your diet is usually advantageous. But it’s crucial to stick to the suggested amounts—roughly 24 almonds or three to four Brazil nuts will do.
Significant levels of zinc, a vitamin important for keeping good skin, may be found in these foods. Zinc is well recognized for its many health advantages, one of which is that it may help get rid of germs linked to some forms of acne.
Additionally, it appears to help the body lessen the synthesis of chemicals that might cause inflammation, which is another element connected to the onset of acne. It is important to remember, nevertheless, that consuming too much zinc might have negative health effects. Adults are thus advised to ingest no more than 40 mg of zinc daily.
Seaweed offers versatility in its consumption, whether as a savory snack, as an addition to salads, or wrapped in sushi rolls. It serves as an excellent natural source of iodine, a crucial nutrient for maintaining proper thyroid function. However, it’s important to note that consuming excessive iodine within a short duration may result in outbreaks.
On average, individuals typically require around 150 micrograms of iodine daily, with higher needs for pregnant and nursing women. Following a well-balanced diet generally helps prevent excessive iodine intake. It’s worth mentioning that seaweed is not the sole dietary source of iodine, as it can also be obtained from seafood, dairy products, and iodized salt.
What About Oily Food?
Despite what the general public believes, eating fatty food does not promote acne or make it worse. On the other hand, those who prepare oily meals for extended periods could have more skin problems. This is explained by the oil from deep fryers or other sources sticking to the hair follicles and perhaps clogging them, which might cause skin issues.
One common inflammatory skin disorder that causes severe psychological anguish is acne. Young adults are often affected at a time of profound physical, emotional, and social upheavals. Acne can continue throughout adulthood, which means a new kind of treatment is needed. In order to reduce the potential for both physical and psychological scarring related to acne, it is imperative that early and aggressive care be prioritized for all patients, regardless of the severity of their acne.
Advances in the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie acne have resulted in the creation of more effective topical and systemic therapies. The optimal management of acne can be achieved by strategically combining these therapies to target particular pathological factors. There are now clear recommendations available to support healthcare providers in their prescribing decisions, such as those offered by the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne.
These recommendations also address the increasing worry of P. acnes strains that are resistant to antibiotics and provide solutions for addressing this problem. Topical retinoids are recommended for mild-to-moderate acne, particularly with comedonal lesions. Combining with BPO, antibiotics, and hormonal treatments is recommended for severe or treatment-resistant disease. Systemic retinoids are highly effective for severe acne. However, comprehensive counseling is crucial for women of child-bearing potential, as teratogenicity risks are significant.
Patients should be educated about acne treatment options, including benefits, risks, and expected outcomes. They should understand that most acne cases can be cleared, but therapy takes time and may worsen in the early weeks. Regular reassurance and follow-up can help patients comply and achieve an acceptable outcome.
Maintenance therapy is crucial for acne, a chronic disease that often recurs without treatment. Topical retinoids target microcomedones and precursor lesions. BPO can be alternated with retinoids, but antibiotics should not be used as monotherapy or long-term maintenance therapy due to antimicrobial resistance.