If you are a adolescent, it is quite likely that you have some kind of pimples or acne. Approximately eight out of 10 teenagers have acne, along with many adults.
Acne is so frequent that it is considered a normal part of puberty. But the mere fact of knowing this information does not help much when you look in the mirror and discover that you have a huge pimple on your face. So what is acne and what can you do to fight it.
What is acne and what is its cause?
Acne is a skin condition that manifests itself through different types of bumps or lumps. It can be pimples or blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cysts. Teenagers develop acne due to the hormonal change of puberty. If your parents had acne during adolescence, you are more likely to develop it as well. The good news is that, in most people, acne disappears almost completely when you leave the adolescence stage.
The type of acne that many teenagers have is called acne vulgaris (the meaning “vulgaris” is not as negative as it seems, it means “the most frequent type”). It usually appears on the neck, face, chest, upper back and shoulders.
The hair follicles of the skin (or pores) contain sebaceous glands. These glands produce sebum, which is the fat that lubricates the hair and skin. Most of the time, the sebaceous glands make the right amount of sebum. But as the body begins to mature, the hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to make more sebum and they can become hyperactive. If there is an excess of sebum and too many dead skin cells, the pores become clogged. Then, bacteria (especially those of the Propionibacterium acnes species) can get trapped inside the pores and reproduce, causing the skin to swell and redden: the beginning of acne.
If a pore clogs and closes but protrudes on the surface of the skin, it is called a white dot. If a pore clogs but remains open, the top layer may darken, in which case it is called a pimple or black spot. Sometimes the pore wall opens, allowing sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells to break under the skin and red pimples form (sometimes the pimples have a full tip of pus, due to the reaction of the body before bacterial infection).
Clogged pores that open at a very deep level of the skin can lead to nodules, which are infected lumps or cysts larger than pimples and that can be painful. Sometimes, large cysts that look like acne can be boils caused by staph infections.
Myths about acne
There are some myths about the factors that cause acne. Anyway, some people find that they have more and worse episodes of acne when they eat an excess of certain types of food. If you are among these people, it is worth trying to eliminate those foods from your diet to see what happens.
Stress is not usually the cause of acne (although it may worsen a pre-existing acne because stress increases sebum production).
There are also myths about the factors that improve acne. Acne does not improve with sun exposure. Although tanning can temporarily hide acne, it does not help it disappear permanently. In addition, some people find that the fat secreted by the skin after sun exposure worsens their pimples.
What can I do to fight acne?
To avoid the accumulation of fat that can contribute to acne, wash your face once or twice a day with mild soap and warm water. Do not rub your face strongly with a washcloth or mitten: acne can not be removed in that way, since rubbing it or rubbing it hard would make it worse, by irritating the skin and pores. Try to clean your face as gently as you can.
If you use makeup or sunscreen, make sure that the products you use are classified as “non-fatty”, “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic”. And, when you wash your face, make sure you spend enough time removing all your makeup so it doesn’t clog your pores.
If you use spray or gel hair fixatives, try not to contact your face when applying them, as they can also clog pores. If you wear long hair and touch your face, be sure to wash your hair often enough so it does not get greased. And, if after classes you work in a place that involves being in contact with oils, such as a fast food restaurant or a gas station, always wash your face well when you get home. It can also help you to wash your face after exercising.
There are many over-the-counter lotions and creams that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which help prevent and treat acne. You can experiment with these products to see if they help you. Be sure to follow exactly its instructions for use: do not use more than the amount indicated in each application (your skin could dry out too much, which would spoil it and make you look worse) and, before applying the product, follow the corresponding instructions to See if you are allergic.
What if, still and everything, I get acne?
Sometimes people, even if they wash their face correctly and use non-greasy lotions and makeup, develop acne anyway; It is something completely normal. In fact, some girls who have acne problems, check that this appears a few days before having the menstrual period. This acne is called premenstrual acne and is presented by approximately seven out of 10 women due to hormonal changes associated with menstruation.
Some teenagers who have acne may see a doctor or dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems), who will prescribe medications to treat acne. Depending on the type of acne, this could involve using prescription creams to prevent the formation of pimples, taking antibiotics that kill the bacteria that contribute to the appearance of pimples or, if it is a severe case of acne, take stronger medications such as isotretinoin or even undergo minor surgery. Some girls find that taking oral contraceptives relieves acne.
Yes, when you look in the mirror, you see that you have a pimple on your face, do not touch it, squeeze it, burst it or pick it. This can be a great effort, since it is quite tempting to try to remove the grain. But, if you manipulate the pimples, you could increase the inflammation by urging them and / or opening them. Also, the fat in your hands will not help at all! Anyway, the worst and most important thing is that, if you pick up the pimples, small permanent scars may remain on your face.