Acne vulgaris, also known as pimples, is a disease of the sebaceous glands that generate an oily substance called sebum. Multiple environmental and genetic factors can cause acne. Its manifestations range from minimal (e.g., blackheads, whiteheads, and pus-filled pimples) to severe (e.g., cystic acne).
Acne is extremely common. Approximately 85% of young people deal with acne sometime during their early to late adolescence (ages 12 to 24). Some still deal with it after the age of 24. Some never have acne during their adolescence but get it in their adult years.
Genetic, dietary, hormonal, environmental, and lifestyle factors can all have an impact on acne.
Genetic factors can have an impact on the development of acne in an individual. Research has shown that there is a high incidence of acne in twins as well as in family units that suffer from acne conglobata, a severe kind of acne. The risk of developing acne increases if a person has hyperandrogenism, XYY chromosome syndrome, or high cortisol or experiences early-onset puberty. This type of acne typically lasts a long time and is resistant to therapy.
Certain foods and drinks have been associated with acne breakouts. Foods that contain a great deal of starch, such as refined grains, have been known to yield excess oil in the skin, resulting in acne flare-ups. Sugary drinks and dairy products can also generate excess oil in the skin.
To reduce or prevent acne, dermatologists often recommend that people consume foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables. It has been found that some indigenous tribes who adhere to a plant-based diet the majority of the time do not experience acne. This has led to studies concerning the role of insulin in the development of acne.
Hormones can have an impact on acne. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have low estrogen and progesterone levels and high androgen levels, resulting in hormonal acne. During a woman’s menstrual cycle, her estrogen and progesterone levels can decrease if her egg is not fertilized, leading to acne formation on the skin. Meanwhile, hormones like progesterone can increase exponentially during pregnancy, causing excess sebum production (i.e., oily, acne-prone skin). The high androgen levels many people experience during puberty or when they are dealing with extreme stress can also trigger excess sebum production.
Several elements within the environment have been linked to acne development. High temperature, humidity, and sun exposure have been known to promote excess sebum production. Air pollutants and the halogenated hydrocarbons present in the environment have been known to clog pores and generate inflammation in the skin.
People who smoke tobacco products are often at a higher risk of developing post-pubertal acne because the toxins in those products can reduce blood flow to the skin, contributing to breakouts. Individuals who use pore-clogging skin care or makeup products may develop acne. Lack of high-quality sleep has also been linked to the development of acne because it can cause hormonal imbalances (e.g., a spike in cortisol levels), resulting in excess sebum production.
Acne can present with a combination of noninflammatory features, such as blackheads, and inflammatory ones, such as cysts, papules, nodes, pustules, and fistulas. The number of inflammatory elements determines the severity of a case of acne.
Acne can lead to significant mental and emotional problems, especially in adolescents. Teenagers and young adults can develop low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety if they have acne. People with acne experience bullying at higher rates and are at a higher risk of being victims of physical abuse. Taking all this into consideration, acne therapy needs to be efficient and widely available and should begin as early as possible for an individual.
Popping pimples and removing blackheads with an at-home blackheads remover kit is not advised. It can aggravate breakouts and result in more pimples and blackheads forming because it inflames the skin and causes bacteria to seep into it. At Dermatology Circle, we use sterile instruments and clinically proven techniques to get rid of pimples and blackheads without causing severe damage to the skin.
Pimple patches, such as hydrocolloid patches, can help because they can absorb moisture. such as oil and pus, reducing the size of a pimple. However, these patches typically only work on mild forms of acne and not severe ones like cystic acne.
Dr. Kazlouskaya will guide patients during every part of their treatment and aid them in attaining the skin of their dreams. She also believes in personalizing skin care, so she will examine the unique elements of a patient’s skin, such as their complexion and sensitivities. Visit Dr. Kazlouskaya at Dermatology Circle and see your skin transform.