What Actually Gets Rid of Acne?

Medically Reviewed on 12/4/2020
Acne is one of the commonest skin conditions affecting almost everyone at some point in their life.

Acne is one of the commonest skin conditions affecting almost everyone at some point in their life.

Several remedies exist to manage acne. One must ensure not to touch, squeeze, or pick on the acne because this can lead to infections and scarring. It is advisable to seek a board-certified dermatologist’s help rather than self-medicating for acne.

Some of the remedies for acne are:

  • Home remedies:
    • 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 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 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.
    • Ice packs: They help soothe your skin and manage inflammation.
    • Always wash up after exercising. This helps clean the pores of sweat and grime.
    • Always use non-comedogenic products on the face.
  • Benzoyl peroxide gel can help treat acne.
  • Salicylic acid and Azelaic acid help fight infection and reduce acne.
  • Retinoids, such as Tretinoin and Adapalene creams and gels
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Combined oral contraceptives or OCPs may be given to women to treat acne
  • Chemical peels and light (photodynamic therapy)

What is acne?

We all love surprises, but not all surprises are pleasant. One such surprise being acne or pimple that may appear like an uninvited guest on our face. Often, this may happen right before an important event, such as a function or a presentation. Acne is one of the commonest skin conditions affecting almost everyone at some point in their life. It results when the tiny hair follicles present on the skin get blocked by oil or dead skin cells. They are not just a cosmetic concern, but they 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 aged 40-50 years. Acne may resolve on its own, but in many cases when not treated properly, it can flare-up, get infected, and even cause marks on the skin.

Acne may manifest in several forms, namely:

  • Comedones: They are also called blackheads or whiteheads. They appear as small bumps that may be yellowish (whiteheads) or black (blackheads) caused by clogging of the hair follicle.
  • Papules: They appear as small, inflamed bumps that appear red and are painful to touch.
  • Pustules: They are also called pimples. They are small, red, and tender bumps that are filled with pus.
  • Cysts: They are deeper and larger forms of pimples and appear as lumps that are filled with pus.
  • Nodules: They appear as big and hard bumps that may be painful to touch.

What causes acne?

The skin bears several tiny tunnel-like structures at the bottom of which the hair grows. These tiny pores in the skin are called hair follicles. Acne occurs when these tiny hair follicles present on the skin get blocked by oil or dead skin cells. The hair follicles are connected to tiny glands called sebaceous glands. These glands produce the oily substance called sebum, which lubricates the hair. Acne results when excess oil production by the sebaceous glands clogs the hair follicles. This may be followed by infection of the follicles by bacteria present on the skin leading to the formation of various acne lesions, such as pustules.

Some conditions may predispose a person to get acne. These include:

  • Excess testosterone hormone production particularly during puberty. Hormonal changes in women, such as during periods and pregnancy, may also cause acne flare-ups.
  • Medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS
  • Genetic vulnerability in some people can cause familial acne
  • Certain medications, such as steroids and Lithium
  • Smoking may cause acne flare-ups
  • Certain cosmetics
  • Diet rich in processed foods, such as chips, pastries, and fries

QUESTION

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Medically Reviewed on 12/4/2020
References
Teens Health. Can I Prevent Acne? https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/prevent-acne.html

American Academy of Dermatology. 10 Things To Try When Acne Won’t Clear. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/DIY/wont-clear

Cleveland Clinic. A Dermatologist’s Advice on How to Get Rid of a Pimple — Stat! October 14, 2019. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/a-dermatologists-advice-on-how-to-get-rid-of-a-pimple/