Acne affects millions of people around the world. It does not only affect adolescents or teenagers but people among all ages, genders, and races. Acne is a cosmetic problem but it can significantly affect an individual’s self-esteem, well-being, and confidence.
Acne may leave scars on the skin, which makes it even more problematic for everyone.
This post aims to explore what acne is, what types of acne exist, how it is treated, and whether it can be cured permanently.
What is Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged. The clogging can be caused by dead skin cells and oil. It can take various forms, and its severity can range from mild to severe. Acne can appear on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders.
What Are The Types of Acne?
- Whiteheads: These are small, raised bumps that develop when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
- Blackheads: These are small, dark-colored bumps that form when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, but open to the surface, allowing the oil to oxidize and turn black.
- Papules: These are small, red or pink bumps that develop when hair follicles become inflamed.
- Pustules: These are small, pus-filled bumps that resemble whiteheads but are more inflamed.
- Nodules: These are large, painful, solid bumps that form beneath the surface of the skin, caused by excess oil and bacteria buildup.
- Cysts: These are large, painful, pus-filled lumps that form beneath the surface of the skin and can lead to scarring.
Who Does Acne Affect?
Acne affects people of all ages, genders, and races. However, it is more common during adolescence, when hormonal changes can trigger the overproduction of oil in the skin. Acne can also affect women during pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and menopause.
How Common is Acne?
According to a study, around 640 million people are affected with acne worldwide, 85% of which are adolescents. This means to say that around 10 to 19 years of age (even beyond) are affected by this problematic skin condition.
How Severe Can Acne Get?
Acne can range from mild to severe, which depends on the type of acne and the severity of the inflammation. Mild acne usually consists of the following:
Moderate to severe acne, on the other hand, can involve papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Severe acne can lead to scarring and may require intensive treatment to manage.
How is Acne Treated?
Acne can be treated using various methods, depending on its severity and the type of acne present. The following are some of the most common treatments for acne:
Topical medications are applied directly to the skin and used to treat mild to moderate acne. Some of the most common topical medications used to treat acne include:
- Benzoyl peroxide: This medication works by killing the bacteria that cause acne and reducing inflammation.
- Retinoids: These medications are derived from vitamin A and are used to unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
- Salicylic acid: This medication is used to unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
Oral medications are used to treat moderate to severe acne and work by reducing inflammation and killing the bacteria that cause acne. Some of the most common oral medications used to treat acne include:
- Antibiotics: These medications are used to kill the bacteria that cause acne and reduce inflammation.
- Oral contraceptives: These medications are used to regulate hormones that can cause acne.
- Isotretinoin: This medication is used to treat severe acne that has not responded to other treatments.
Chemical peels are an aesthetic treatment used to treat mild to moderate acne by removing the outermost layer of skin. A chemical solution is applied to the skin, which causes it to exfoliate and peel off, revealing smoother, clearer skin.
Laser-based therapies are used to treat moderate to severe acne by reducing inflammation and killing the bacteria that cause acne. Some of the most common laser-based therapies used to treat acne include:
- Blue light therapy: This therapy uses blue light to kill the bacteria that cause acne.
- Photodynamic therapy: This therapy uses a combination of light and a photosensitizing agent to kill the bacteria that cause acne.
Extraction treatments are used to remove blackheads and whiteheads manually from the skin. This is done using a special tool to gently extract the debris from the pores. This type of treatment is usually performed by a dermatologist or an esthetician.
Medical Procedures for Acne:
There are many medical procedures that can be used to treat moderate to severe acne. Some of the most common procedures include:
- Corticosteroid injections: These injections are used to reduce inflammation and prevent scarring in cystic acne.
- Cryotherapy: This is the use of extreme cold to freeze and destroy the affected tissue.
- Microdermabrasion: This procedure uses a special tool to remove the outermost layer of skin, revealing smoother, clearer skin.
Can Acne be Cured Permanently?
Currently, there is no treatment that cures acne permanently. However, many treatments can help manage and reduce the symptoms of acne. Some of the treatments are combined therapies for acne, which increases the probability to cure the condition.
How long should I give an acne treatment to work?
The length of time it takes for an acne treatment to work depends on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment used. According to a study, topical treatments generally require six to eight weeks before improvement of the condition is seen. However, patients can grow impatient and would say there is already treatment failure even when the effects of treatment have not set in yet.
Does What You Eat Make Acne Worse?
There is some evidence to suggest that certain foods can exacerbate acne symptoms, such as sugar, dairy, and refined carbohydrates. However, the link between diet and acne is not yet fully understood, and more research is needed to confirm the relationship between the two.
Acne can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are many treatments available that can help reduce symptoms and prevent future breakouts. It is important to speak to a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. With proper care and management, it is possible to keep acne under control and achieve clearer, healthier-looking skin.
For medical professionals who want to provide aesthetic treatments to acne, training and certification are required. ReplenishMD Training is a medical aesthetic institution that provides legitimate training and certification to medical professionals who want to provide aesthetic services.