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WHAT CAUSES ACNE AND HOW TO TREAT IT?

Acne is the most common skin condition that affects over 50 million Americans per year! It usually begis at puberty and continues into adolescence and adulthood. If you have acne and haven’t seen a doctor yet you could find doctors online and book a tele-appointment with doctor with an online doctor app.

Acne is a skin condition that occurs as a result of your hair follicles becoming clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It may cause whiteheads, blackheads or pimples appearing on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Even though acne is most common among teenagers, it affects people of all ages.

Acne is a treatable condition and there are effective therapies, but acne can be persistent. The pimples and bumps are slow to health and when one begins to go away, others show up. If acne becomes severe, it can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. Talk to your doctor about different treatment options and work out the one that will work the best for you. For expert medical advice you can connect to a dermatologist online or find best doctors online at My live doctors, a one stop telehealth platform for all your medical conditions. Online doctors can treat basic everyday health conditions such as acne, flu, headaches and allergies without the hassle of an in-clinic visit. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of complications.

Acne symptoms

  • Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
  • Blackheads (open plugged pores)
  • Small red, tender bumps
  • Pimples
  • Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
  • Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)

Instead of consulting a doctor some people go for home remedies instead. However, if self-care remedies don't work you should probably see your primary care doctor. If acne persists or is severe, you may want to seek medical treatment from a doctor who specializes in the skin (dermatologist). Online health services like telemedicine apps have made quality healthcare more accessible to people with busy schedules. An online doctor app like My live doctors is a quick and convenient way of getting treated on the go!

Causes of acne

Most common causes of acne include:

  • Excess oil production
  • Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
  • Bacteria
  • Increase androgen hormones

Acne tends to appear on your face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders because the skin on these areas have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. Hair follicles are connected to oil glands.

Whiteheads: The follicle wall may bulge and produce a whitehead.

Blackheads: When the plug is open to the surface and darkens it causes a blackhead. A blackhead may look like dirt stuck in pores. But actually the pore is congested with bacteria and oil, which turns brown when it's exposed to the air.

Pimples: Pimples are raised red spots with a white center that develop when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected with bacteria. When the inflammation is deep inside hair follicles, it produces cyst-like lumps beneath the surface of your skin. Other pores in your skin, which are the openings of the sweat glands, aren't usually involved in acne.

Risk factors for acne

  • Age. People of all ages can get acne, but it's most common in teenagers.
  • Hormonal changes. Most common around age of puberty. Teenagers, women and girls are commonly affected.
  • Family history. Genetics plays a role in acne. If both parents had acne, it increases your risk of having it too.
  • Greasy or oily substances. If your skin comes into contact with oily lotions and creams or with grease in a work area you may develop outbursts of acne.
  • Friction or pressure on your skin. This can be caused by items such as telephones, cellphones, helmets, tight collars and backpacks.
  • Stress. Stress doesn't cause acne, but if you have acne already, it may make it worse.

Acne is more common in females. Many women experience flares a week before menstruation. This type of acne tends to clear up without treatment in women who use contraceptives. In most cases however it is persistent and requires continuous care. If you haven’t contacted a doctor already, find physician online at My live doctors and get it checked out. In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may be due to an underlying disease requiring medical attention.

Note:

Do not use acne products/skincare products on acne-inflated skin without consulting your doctor first. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that some popular non-prescription acne lotions, cleansers and other skin products can cause a serious reaction. A full-blown skin reaction is different from the usual redness and itchiness of the skin.

If you experience the following symptoms after using a skin care product contact your doctor immediately:

  • Faintness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue
  • Tightness of the throat

Factors that may worsen acne

There are several factors that can worsen or trigger an outburst of acne:

  • Hormones. Androgens levels increase in boys and girls during puberty causing the oil glands to enlarge and make more sebum (natural oil). Hormonal changes during pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) also can affect sebum production. Circulating androgen in the blood can worsen acne.
  • Certain medications. Examples include drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.
  • Diet. Research suggests that foods such as skim milk and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips — may worsen acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of making acne worse.
  • Stress. Stress can make acne worse.

Treatment

The main goal of acne treatment is to bring the acne under control, reduce scar marks and prevent further acne flares. There are several medications that may be prescribed by your doctor depending on your age and severity of acne.

  • Topical treatment
  1. Retinoids and retinoid-like medicines. These are derived from Vitamin A and may be in the form of creams, gels or lotions. It works by preventing plugging of hair follicles.
  2. Antibiotics. These are used to reduce the inflammation and kill the bacteria on the skin. Initially topical antibiotics may be used with retinoids.
  3. Salicylic acid and Azelaic acid. These are used to prevent plugging of hair follicles and they also have antibacterial properties.
  • Oral medication
  1. Antibiotics
  2. Combined oral contraceptives
  3. Anti-androgens
  4. Isotretinoin (powerful drug for patients who don’t respond to other treatments)

Treatments other than medication include:

  • Laser therapy
  • Chemical peel
  • Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads
  • Steroid injections

The sooner you begin treatment the better. Talk to your doctor about which treatment method will work best for you. Find doctors online at www.mylivedoctors.com