Acne is a common skin condition that affects the hair follicles and oil glands on the surface of the skin. The skin has several tiny hair follicles at the base of which the hair starts growing. These hair follicles are connected with small oil glands called sebaceous glands, which secrete an oily substance called sebum. Oil from the sebaceous glands lubricates the skin and hair. Acne occurs when the tiny hair follicles present on the skin get blocked by oil or dead skin cells. They not only are a cosmetic concern but also make the skin painful and inflamed. Acne can appear anywhere on the body including the back, shoulders, and chest; however, they most often occur on the face. Acne usually affects teenagers but can even occur in people in their forties or fifties. Acne may resolve on its own, but in many cases when not treated properly, it can get flared up and infected and even cause scarring or marks on the skin. Although the terms acne and pimples are used interchangeably, pimples are simply one of the many symptoms of acne. Acne manifests as several symptoms that include:
- Whiteheads (closed and plugged pores)
- Blackheads (plugged pores that are open)
- Papules (small red and painful bumps)
- Pimples (pus-filled papules)
- Nodules (big, firm, and painful lumps under the skin)
- Cysts (deep, painful, pus-filled bumps under the skin)
For proper management of acne, one must consult their physician because the management of acne depends on many factors such as the severity of acne, age of the affected individual, and the presence of infection. Some of the remedies for getting rid of acne include:
- Aloe vera and tea tree oil: Both aloe vera and tea tree oil are good for controlling acne. Some people, however, are allergic to tea tree oil. Thus, test your skin for sensitivity to the oil on a smaller area before applying it to a larger part. Always apply tea tree oil in a diluted form in some lotion or aloe vera gel and not directly on the skin.
- Keep your skin clean: Use mild cleansing agents to clean your skin of dirt and oils. Cleaning the skin is also essential after a physical activity or exercise.
- Eat healthily: Avoid oily and starchy foods and eat fruits and vegetables in plenty for skin and overall health.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is also essential to flush off toxins from the body and keep skin healthy.
- Avoid pressure or friction on the skin such as wearing tight hairbands or undergarments.
- Avoid touching, squeezing, or picking on pimples.
- Topical (externally applied) antibiotic medications include creams and gels containing antibiotic medications such as erythromycin, clindamycin, sulfacetamide, azelaic acid, and dapsone.
- Topical retinoids such as adapalene and tretinoin.
- Oral medications such as:
- Light treatments
- Chemical peels
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