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Acne – Its Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatments

Acne is a very common skin problem in both men, women. Almost everyone will have it at some time. In fact, according to estimates, 85% of Americans between 12-24 will have it. It has also been said that the condition affects more than 50 million people in the US.

We have acne or pimples when our hair follicles get plugged because of dead cells or oil. It is a skin’s inflammatory condition, which causes pimples, spots on the skin, and is mainly on the face. However, they can also happen on your upper arms, your chest, neck region, back, and the shoulders. This isn’t a medical problem. However, severe instances of acne can lead to emotional issues and harm self-esteem when there are scars on the skin.

Acne pimples can come up at any time. It is very common, though, during puberty, which is why you will see so many teenagers having these pimples. This is when your sebaceous glands remain most active because of hormonal changes. The glands make oil, which then blocks hair follicles, causing acne. Dead cells of the skin, bacteria also block the follicles.

What Are the Symptoms of Acne?

There are pimples or little bumps on your skin. Usually, these pimples are either black or white in color. They are also called comedones. There can also be lesions that are inflammatory, causing scarring. This includes, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts. Sometimes, they can be painful, especially when there’s an infection.

Who Is Affected the Most

It will usually affect young people and teenagers the most because hormonal level changes are always happening in their bodies at this time. However, you will find those who keep struggling with pimples even when they are into the 30s. More aged people also have it. It is “adult acne”. There are even people who will have pimples well past their teens.

Where Does Acne Appear On Body

Normally, acne appears on the face. They can, however, come up in other areas as well, like the shoulders, your chest, upper side of the back, and your forehead. That’s because our oil glands are present throughout the body. There can be acne wherever there are these glands and wherever the oil ends up blocking the skin’s pores.

Acne – Its Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatments

Different Types of Acne

Many people don’t realize this, but the fact is that, acne can be divided into many types, such as – 

  • Whiteheads – Very common. These are flesh-colored or white bumps on skin. The white part is the skin closing down over the pore, which is plugged. Wash using mild soap, warm water. You may also use something with benzoyl peroxide for washing. Retinoid drugs help when the whiteheads come back.
  • Blackheads – The same as your whiteheads. The only difference is that, there’s a black spot at the pimple’s top. Blackhead treatment is also much the same. Clean the area before applying the medicine. Never scrub or pick the spot because it can cause skin scarring. The damage could be permanent.

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  • Papule – There can be hard, small, pink, or red bumps on skin. These pimples form in clusters sometimes and feel like sandpaper surface. They can also feel sore, particularly when the lesions get infected, inflamed. Papule acne may become severe/moderate. Contact a specialist if it’s severe or keeps coming back.
  • Cystic Acne – Known as pustules, they are pimples, filled with yellow-colored fluid, which is actually pus. They may look the same as whiteheads because of its whitish or yellow top. However, if you look closely, you will see red rings, surrounding them. Cystic acne comes from infected material that has become clogged within the lesion. Pustules are also more painful compared to whiteheads. Never squeeze out the pus yourself. Your acne can worsen. It can also cause a painful infection. There are various treatment options, like steroid injections, draining the pus out, and antibiotics.
  • Maskne – A new type. Maskne is caused from wearing a mask. They come up at the site where your mask touches the skin, like your cheeks. They can appear either like blackheads/whiteheads. Avoid retinoid and retinol products. Skip applying makeup as it can clog the pores of the skin. Use cosmetics that are oil-free or have the “noncomedogenic” labeling. Select masks made with soft fabrics. Change regularly.
  • Nodules – These are hard, large, flesh-colored, or red lumps. Nodular acne is normally severe. They form deep within your skin from an infection on your clogged pores. This acne is often very painful. You may see them on your back, your chest, and face. In most instances, they will go away quickly. But acne nodules can stay on for weeks, even months. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat this type. They can cause scars.
  • Acne Rosacea – This can cause flushing or blushing. The blood vessels will become visible on the face. There can be pus-filled, small bumps, which can stay flared-up for many days, and even weeks. They can even return if you don’t go for adequate treatment.
  • Fungal Acne – Caused by an infection in the skin’s hair follicles. It’s usually seen as small pimples, which itch because it causes irritation. Their size and shape are mostly the same. Mostly, they are either whiteheads/blackheads. Many think this is actually acne vulgaris. They are however, different conditions. Fungal acne can actually worsen with the usual anti-acne treatments.
  • Hormonal Acne – This acne type is linked with the fluctuations of body hormones, especially during puberty. However, even adults can have this. More women have this because both menopause and menstruation are the causes. According to estimates, 50% of women between 20-29 age have this condition. It is also seen in women between 40 and 49.
  • Acne Vulgaris – A chronic skin issue involving inflammation and/or blockage of the hair follicles, sebaceous gland functioning. There may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory lesions or both. It’s seen on face, your chest, and the back.

Most people will usually apply a cream to treat their acne. This might not always be the accurate acne treatment. Get it diagnosed by an expert and treat it to remove acne permanently.