Inhale Confidence, Exhale Doubt
Acne, a prevalent skin condition affecting over 640 million people worldwide, demands our attention and understanding. Its origins lie deep within our genetics, but with determination and the right knowledge, we can effectively manage and treat it. Today, we embark on a journey to uncover the complexities of acne, exploring its various types, root causes, and potential remedies.The Rising Concern
In recent years, the incidence of adult acne in women has witnessed a startling increase of 10% globally. This skin condition, touching millions, requires proactive measures to ensure not only physical healing but also emotional well-being. Alongside acne's visible impact, we acknowledge the rise of self-doubt and insecurities, which we are determined to address and alleviate.
Types of Acne and Their Causes
Fungal Acne :
Fungal acne, or pityrosporum folliculitis or malassezia folliculitis, presents a unique challenge. It occurs when yeast excessively grows on the skin, leading to clogged hair follicles. Treating fungal acne demands consistency, anti-fungal topical treatments, and measures to keep the skin dry and oil production balanced.
- Warm and humid temperatures: Fungal acne thrives in warm, moist conditions, making it more common in areas with high humidity or excessive sweating.
- Antibiotics or immunosuppressive medications: Prolonged use of these medications can disrupt the balance of bacteria and yeast on the skin, allowing fungal overgrowth.
- Tight clothing and occlusive skincare products: It is important to not trap moisture against the skin as that can lead to fungal growth. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing or using occlusive skincare products.
Keep the treatment of fungal acne simple and minimal but consistent.
- Use anti-fungal topical treatments.
- Avoid sweaty clothes post workouts for too long.
- Wear soft fabrics like cotton, bamboo, etc.
- Shower twice a day, especially in hot and humid conditions.
- Adjust skincare routines accordingly, and use products that keep the skin dry or stabilize oil production.
Cystic acne manifests as painful, pus-filled pimples and nodules deep within the skin. Factors like excessive oil production, bacterial infection, hormonal fluctuations, and genetic predisposition contribute to its severity. Managing cystic acne requires diligent oral medication, prescribed topical products, and professionally administered procedures to minimize scarring and promote healing.
- Excess oil production: Overactive oil glands can produce an excessive amount of oil, leading to clogged pores and the development of cystic acne.
- Bacterial infection: P. acnes bacteria on the skin can contribute to inflammation and the formation of cystic acne.
- Hormonal fluctuations: Fluctuations in the estrogen and progesterone along side other hormonal changes promotes oil production.
- Genetic factors: The likelihood of developing this condition is largely hereditary.
Cystic acne and its cure requires consistency, alongside the prescription of medicated treatments, anything over-the-counter may be insufficient.
- Tailored Treatments: From isotretinoin, oral antibiotics, or other prescribed medication to invasive injections, or more, a treatment is designed depending on the severity of acne that persists on the skin.
- Acids May Be Necessary: Apart from the usual benzoyl peroxide, there’s a chance of the skin may need retinol, salicylic acid, or other topical products.
- Peels/Estractions: Chemical peels, extractions, or injections; a certified dermatologist will assess your skin to minimise the impact of acne on the skin through certain procedures.
Hormonal acne poses unique challenges, especially for adults. Fluctuations in androgen hormones, like testosterone, stimulate sebum production, leading to clogged hair follicles and painful, inflamed acne lesions. Hormonal acne can affect both women and men, with women being more susceptible during menstruation or menopause. Regulating hormone levels either through oral contraceptives or birth control pills, or ensuring one leads a healthy lifestyle can be done and will control acne. This type of acne is seen around the cheeks, chin, or around the jawline, and is known to affect almost 80% of women in their lifetime.
- Androgen Hormones: Both men and women produce androgen hormones, but they are typically more abundant in males. It stimulates the sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin to produce more sebum.
- Increased Sebum Production: The excess sebum can mix with dead skin cells and clog hair follicles and pores, creating an environment favorable for the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
- Inflammation : Clogging of hair follicles and pores due to bacterial activity can trigger an inflammatory response by the immune system, leading to the formation of red, swollen, and painful acne lesions.
- Oral Contraceptives or Birth Control Pills are prescribed to regulate hormone levels and reduce androgen activity, leading to a decrease in hormonal acne breakouts.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and sufficient sleep can support overall hormonal balance and contribute to healthier skin.
- Topical treatments prescribed by a certified dermatologist can help eliminate both, acne and scars over consistent use.
Nodular acne is a severe form, often confused with cystic acne. It develops hard lumps or nodules deep beneath the skin's surface, appearing as red bumps without a whitehead or blackhead. Hormonal imbalances and excessive sweating contribute to its formation. Treating nodular acne involves oral medication and professional procedures like chemical peels, laser therapy, or drainage to prevent scarring.
The development of nodular acne is primarily associated with:
- Hormonal Factors : Hormonal imbalances, especially increased androgen levels, can trigger excess sebum production and inflammation, leading to the formation of these red lumps.
- Clogged Pores : Nodular acne starts with the clogging of hair follicles with dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria, resulting in the formation of a nodule.
- Excessive Sweating :Skin that’s sweaty is more prone to nodular acne, especially if you wear clothing that traps sweat against your skin. People with hyperhidrosis (a condition that causes excessive sweating) may have a higher chance of developing nodular acne.
Similar to cystic acne, nodular acne that’s more intense in nature requires the following:
- Oral medication like isotretinoin or tetracycline is prescribed to individuals with nodular acne.
- Professionally administered procedures like chemical peels, laser therapy, or drainage of cysts may be performed to manage nodular acne and prevent scarring.
- Use of clean products that are part of your everyday routine, or part of your skincare. Pay extra attention to products that are expired, or causing an extra skin sensitivity.
As we explore the intricacies of acne, we emphasize the significance of understanding its type, temperament, and treatment. Knowledge empowers us to embrace confidence, rising above the challenges it poses. While our suggestions are science-backed, we encourage consulting a certified dermatologist for personalized guidance and products that cater to your unique skin needs.
Remember, acne is not just a skin condition - it touches our self-esteem and emotional well-being. Armed with the right information and the support of experts, we can take control and breathe easier, inhaling confidence and exhaling doubt. Together, let us face acne with courage, paving the path to healthier, happier skin and a more self-assured you.