Introduction – Acne is a common, in fact, predominant skin disorder that affects all nations, races and genders regardless of their ethnic backgrounds geographical location or environmental conditions. The resulting impact is even more troublesome. According to a recent survey done in US, about 25% of adults and 31% of teens surveyed said that acne sometimes keeps them from participating in social activities. It has been. Today, dermatologists have a consensus that only few people survive their teen years without suffering at least an occasional acne break-out. For many, acne continues into their adult years, causing embarrassment and prompting the sufferer to search the cosmetic counters for means to cover the spots.
Acne statistics for the age – According to general statistics, acne usually starts around puberty and lasts until adulthood, although it can persist for many more years, regardless of age. Similarly, baby acne affects approximately 20% of newborn babies. About 25% of teens will still have acne at age 25. More than 80% of acne sufferers are between the ages of 12 and 24. Acne affects about 90% of adolescents and 20-30% of adults aged 20 to 40 years.
Acne statistics for the sites – Acne affects the face in 99% of cases. Other, less affected sites are back, neck, buttocks and even arms. Last but not least, considering that 80% of the population between the age of 12 and 24 years old will be afflicted by acne to one degree or another, acne is a very serious and widespread concern. For many people, acne problems can continue all throughout their life well into adulthood, even though they were told as teens that they would “outgrow” it.
What is Acne? – Acne is an extremely common and distressing condition that affects the skin’s oil glands. The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to oil glands under the skin. These glands make an oily substance called sebum. The pores connect to the glands by a canal called a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. A thin hair also grows through the follicle and out to the skin. When the follicle of a skin gland clogs up, this is when a pimple develops. Most pimples are found typically on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders but they can appear literally anywhere. Acne can cause unsightly and in rare cases permanent scarring but it is not life threatening. Acne develops when the hair, sebum and skin cells clump together to form a plug. A bacterium grows in the plug that causes swelling. Then when the plug starts to break down, a pimple grows. Acne is the most common skin disease. Men and women of any age and race can get acne although it is generally believed to be a teenage ailment as it is most common in teenagers and adults. It is estimated that as much as 80% of the population aged between the age of 11 and 30 will experience some form of acne. Even those in the older generation, as old as in their fifties (though less common) can suffer from acne. The sole cause of acne in the first places not established, though people have many theories. To clear up one misconception, diet definitely does not cause acne, although many people believe this to be true. Whether you eat a lot of fatty foods or a lot of chocolate and crisps plays no part in acne although it is true that eating well can only benefit your complexion, acne (in the first instance) is not caused by what you eat.
Doctors and dermatologists believe it could be down to the increase of hormones in puberty which can cause the oil glands to clog and plug up. Older women can have acne due to the hormonal changes when pregnant and those who take the oral contraceptive pill can also suffer acne as a side effect. If any of your immediate family members suffered from acne as well, there is a very good chance you will too as it is hereditary. Some medications, particularly some antibiotics can cause spots and using particularly greasy oil-based cosmetics. Acne can be treated by OTC (Over the counter) topical face washes or creams or in severe cases, a course of antibiotics and/or steroids over a certain period is prescribed depending on the kind of acne you have and the severity. The quicker the acne is treated the lesser the incidence of scarring. Your doctor will be able to advise or refer you to a dermatologist (a skin specialist) who can work with you so you get the best possible treatment. Understanding different stages of acne An easy grading of acne – Based on the degree or the severity of the signs and symptoms produced in acne, the disorder can be categorized into three prominent or main stages or grades as follows:
Mild acne (“whiteheads” and “blackheads”) Mils acne, also known as non-inflammatory acne, is caused by a plug of dead skin cells and oil in the canal that contains the hair, under the surface of the skin. Because the plugs are underneath the skin surface, scrubbing will not get rid of them. In fact, rubbing the skin or using harsh or abrasive soaps can irritate the skin and make the acne worse. Mild acne does not usually leave permanent marks on the skin. Moderate to moderately severe acne – This type of acne, also known as inflammatory acne, consists of several whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules that cover from top of the face and/or other parts of the body. It can be treated with antibiotic lotions or gels, as well as retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is an altered form of vitamin A. It helps prevent whiteheads and black heads. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic pill, such as erythromycin. If you take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, antibiotics can affect how well they work. Be sure to use a second method of birth control with the pill, such as a condom. Retinoic acid and antibiotic pills can make the skin sensitive to the sun. So, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade while using them.