All About Acne: What You Need To Know

Among the teenager’s lexicon, there is a four-letter word that most know all too well. You guessed it, that word is ACNE.

 

While this skin condition is most prevalent in teenagers, it can affect people of all ages. In fact, Acne is so common that it affects 50 million Americans every year! Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a disorder that affects the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands and hair follicles (also called pores).  

 

HOW IT OCCURS

Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands produce excess sebum (oil) which combines with the dead skin cells that we constantly shed, blocking the hair follicles and pores; this leads to blackheads and whiteheads. When bacteria proliferate in the clogged pores and they become infected, inflammatory acne occurs. This can manifest in a number of ways, including pimples, pustules (pus-filled pimples), and cysts.
Depending on the severity of the condition, signs and symptoms of acne will vary in each individual. 

 

THE IMPACT

While acne is not usually a serious physical health concern, it can be upsetting and emotionally distressing. According to The American Academy of Dermatology Association, acne can wreak havoc on a person’s emotional health. Research has shown that people with acne may also develop depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor self-image, decreased quality of life, and a feeling of isolation. Given this frustrating condition, people often turn to over-the-counter products for a successful acne solution. 

 

TREATMENTS

In search of “the right one,” over-the-counter products are generally sought as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate acne.  This, however, can be likened to a fishing expedition in an endless sea of products; yet, if either you or a loved one are on this journey, don’t get discouraged. While finding a match for your skin may be a patient process with trial and error, you will surely find “that special one” for you. 

Indeed, everyone is unique and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option, which is why it is important to understand how the treatment of interest works before deciding to try it. To curb the whirlwind of endless products, weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks, ensuring that you are well-informed.   *Courtesy tip: Spare yourself the hassle and remember that a little bit of research goes a long way.   

 

SKIN TYPES

Before looking for an acne treatment, it is important to first get a sense of your skin type. There are four different skin types that are classified based on the amount of oil they produce. These include: dry skin, normal skin, combination skin, and oily skin. 

 

  • Dry skin

    is characterized by skin that does not produce enough oil, usually feels tight, may have flaking, as well as pores and blackheads that are barely seen. 

  • Normal skin

    produces the perfect balance of oil, with normal pores and very small blackheads, if any at all. 

  • Combination skin

    produces varying amounts of oil in the T-zone (which is the forehead, nose, chin, and area circling your mouth) than on the cheeks. This area produces more oil than on other parts of the face, and the pores are more visible on the nose and cheeks, with blackheads that are usually able to be seen. 

  • Oily skin

    produces excessive oil all over the face, with blackheads, large pores, and oily skin visible. 

Once you have identified your skin type, a bit of research will help you find the most effective treatment for you.

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