Everything About Acne: What You Need to Know
Acne is a skin condition that people of any age can get. It can appear as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts. Several factors cause acne such as hormones, certain medications, or genetics.
While there is no permanent cure for acne, there are several effective treatments and prevention tips available. This blog post will explore the causes, treatments, and prevention of acne.
What Are the Different Types of Acne?
While acne is a common skin condition, the key to treating it is identifying which type of acne you have. Here are some of the most common types of acne:
1. Cystic Acne
Among the different types of acne, cystic acne is the most severe. This happens when oil and dead skin cells block pores. It is a type of inflammatory acne that causes deep, painful pimples to form under the skin. These pimples are often filled with pus and can be extremely uncomfortable.
Open bumps on the skin that fill with excess oil and dead skin are called blackheads. They get their name from the dirt-like appearance of the clogged follicle, but it is the irregular light reflection that causes the dark spots.
It is a very common type of acne that can affect almost any area of your body, but they're most likely to show up on your face, neck, back, and chest.
3. Fungal Acne
Malassezia (Pityrosporum) folliculitis, commonly known as fungal acne, is a condition where hair follicles become infected with a fungus called Malassezia yeast. Fungal acne is a yeast infection of the hair follicles that happens when the yeast on your skin multiplies. If you have this condition, be prepared to deal with itchy pimples on your face, scalp, and upper body.
4. Nodular acne
Another severe type of acne is nodular acne. Hard lumps or knots can develop deep under your skin, causing the appearance of red bumps on the surface. Not only are they incredibly painful, but nodular acne can last for weeks or even months.
Acne papules are inflamed bumps that solidify under your skin. Unlike pustules, they don't have a white or yellow tip filled with pus. These are often smaller than one centimeter in diameter, and can be red, brown, purple or the same as your skin tone.
A pustule is a type of acne that has yellow pus in it. Pustules are bumps on the skin that can either be red with a white center or simply white. They often feel hardened and might even be painful to touch. The area around the pustules is typically reddish or swollen.
Whiteheads grow beneath the skin and can eventually turn into pimples or blemishes. This occurs when a pore becomes clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and other impurities. When these blocked pores stay shut, it results in yellowish or light-colored blemishes.
Hormonal Acne: What It Is and How To Deal With It?
Hormonal acne, as the name suggests, is acne brought about by changes in hormones. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), acne affects up to 50 million Americans annually.
The jury is still out on whether hormonal acne even exists. Some experts say that hormones aren't a factor in adult acne. However, they admit that there could be some correlation between imbalanced hormones and breakouts in adults with other medical conditions.
Hormonal acne breakouts have specific characteristics. Keep reading to learn what they are, what causes them, and how you can prevent them.
Excess sebum buildup in oil glands is the root cause of hormonal acne. It causes bumps on different parts of your body in the form of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and even cysts.
Hormonal acne commonly occurs in the T-zone. It is an area that includes your nose, chin, and forehead. Hormonal acne does not only affect typical pimple areas, but also other parts of your face as you age. Many adults notice hormonal acne breakouts along their jawline, cheeks, and around their lips.
The severity of hormonal acne can differ, with mild typically consisting of non-painful whiteheads and blackheads in smaller numbers. Mild ones typically resolve on their own without taking any medication.
Who Gets Hormonal Acne
Although both sexes can get hormonal acne, women are considerably more likely to suffer from this. Women experience more drastic hormone changes than men. These changes happen especially during puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
Approximately, 50% of women in their twenties and 25% in their forties suffer from hormonal acne.
Hormonal acne is acne triggered by fluctuations in hormone levels. The sudden shift in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels can cause zits and pimples to appear. These usually occur during menstruation cycles, pregnancy, or menopause.
It is often caused by escalated hormone levels, which leads to more sebum production. Sebum is an oily, waxy substance that can cause inflammation, changes in skin cell activity, and bacterial growth in hair follicles. If this occurs in combination, acne starts to appear.
Hormonal acne can also be brought by medications, antibiotics, specific foods, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Since hormonal acne usually manifests as cystic bumps, OTC products are rarely effective for those suffering from anything more than mild cases.
While these bumps are impossible for topical medications to reach. Oral medications can help to balance out your hormones and clear up your skin from the inside out.
Common medications include:
- Anti-androgen drugs
- Oral contraceptives
Not a fan of taking medications? Luckily, different plant-based treatment options may be effective for clearing up mild hormonal acne.
Here are organic treatment options you should know:
- Alpha hydroxy acid
- Green tea
- Tea tree oil
Although natural treatments may be free of some negative side effects, they might not work. Right now, there is not enough research to determine if natural options are effective.
Diet DOs and DON’Ts
Although there's no direct correlation between diet and hormonal acne, certain foods have been proven to reduce or prevent acne flare-ups. Foods rich in antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and promote healthier skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to decrease inflammation.
If you want to prevent acne breakouts, try to avoid the following:
- Dairy products
- Fast food
- Refined grains
- Red meats
Foods that aren't good for you won't have much effect if eaten occasionally, but frequently consuming unhealthy fast food, sugary desserts, and drinks will eventually damage your skin.
Does your skincare routine need a makeover? If you're still seeing breakouts despite using different acne treatments, changes to your regimen could help. Developing an effective skincare routine is critical to preventing and treating hormonal acne.
Here are some skincare tips to try:
- Allow your skin to recover naturally
- Avoid touching your face too often
- Choose hair and skincare items that are oil-free and won't clog pores
- Avoid scrubbing your skin
- Handle your skin gently
- Wash your skin after sweating
- Wear sunscreen
While you cannot always control hormonal acne, there are some specific things that you can do to help prevent it. You can reduce stress by getting better sleep and eating a healthier diet.
Know How to Manage Acne Today
Dealing with acne can be frustrating, especially when you've tried everything under the sun to get rid of it. If you have questions on how to take better care of your skin, don't hesitate to set up an appointment with a dermatologist.