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What causes acne and how can we prevent it?

When the pores on your skin get blocked repeatedly, it’s likely that you will have acne. Acne is the most common skin condition which is not life-threatening, but can cause frustration and aesthetic problems. 

What causes acne?

Acne occurs when the pores of skin become blocked

As mentioned above, you will develop acne when the oil, dead skin, or bacteria block the pores (which are small holes) on your skin. Each pore is the opening to a follicle which is made up of a hair and an oil gland. During the lubrication process where the oil gland will release sebum to keep your skin soft and lubricated, it is easy for acne to occur. For example, when your follicles produce too much oil, or dead skin cells and bacteria accumulate or build up in the pores, they contribute to the development of pimples.

What contributes to developing acne?

There are common foods you eat daily that can contribute to acne. It is said that if you eat a lot of chocolate or fries, your skin will develop acne. However, we need more support from scientists for that. Instead, some risk factors are more clear. They are hormonal changes when you reach the age of puberty or when you are pregnant. Secondly, there are certain medications like birth control pills or corticosteroids. Also, if your diet is high in refined sugars or carbohydrates, it can contribute to acne. In addition, if you have parents who had acne, it is more likely that you will have it. 

The most risky time for developing acne is during puberty. There will be huge hormonal changes during this time which can trigger oil production. Therefore, the risk of acne will be increased. These hormonal acne related to puberty tends to subside, or improves when you become an adult.

When you have symptoms of acne, make sure you go to see your doctor to examine your skin. You will then know the types of lesions and therefore, determine the best treatment.

How many types of acne?

You can find acne anywhere on your body, but commonly on your face, your back, your neck, your chest, and your shoulders. Blackheads and whiteheads are the most common types of acne. Blackheads are black because they open at the surface of the skin and get affected by oxygen. Meanwhile, whiteheads are found under the skin’s surface. There are also other types of acne that can cause scarring of your skin. Papules look like small red bumps which are caused by infected hair follicles or inflamed. Nodules are solid, painful lumps which can be found beneath the surface of your skin. Pustules have pus at the tips and they are small red pimples. Cysts are also found beneath the skin. They are large lumps containing pus and usually painful.

How is acne treated?

You can prevent pimples and treat acne with a few self-care activities. Firstly, make sure you clean your skin everyday with a mild soap. Keep your hair out of the face and shampoo it regularly. Also, use water-based makeup products. When you have pimples, do not squeeze or pick them, because you will spread bacteria and excess oil. Avoid wearing hats, tight headbands or touching your face.

Do not squeeze or pick pimples

When self-care doesn’t help, you can try acne medications which contain ingredients that can kill bacteria or reduce oil on your skin. They are Benzoyl peroxide, Sulfur, Resorcinol and Salicylic acid. However, it is recommended to seek medical advice. Your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce your symptoms and prevent scarring

Normally, women can use birth control pills or spironolactone to treat hormonal acne. They decrease the oil production to regulate hormones that can cause acne.

How can you prevent acne?

It’s not easy to prevent acne. Sometimes you will get frustrated but you can try prevent acne after treatment with some steps at home. For example, use an oil-free cleanser to wash your face twice a day. Then remove excess oil with an over-the-counter acne cream. Also, avoid using makeup that contains oil and remove your makeup as well as clean your skin thoroughly before bed. After exercising, make sure you shower. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, eat a healthy diet with minimal refined sugars. It is also important to reduce anxiety and stress. If you are more careful, talk to your doctor to know exactly how you can manage your acne.

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