What causes acne?
Acne is a difficult problem to treat because it has several underlying causes. Some are genetic, some hormonal, others involve external factors. There is no 'cure' for acne, but management is possible. The problem with acne really begins within our skin as it naturally produces oil in our sebaceous gland. Acne-causing bacteria metabolize this oil and that metabolized oil is irritating to our skin. As the skin becomes increasingly irritated by this oil our hair follicles will become plugged, thereby collecting debris. This debris then erupts down into the deeper layer of our skin, the dermis. This debris is an intruder in the dermis, a foreign body, which doesn't belong there. As a result our body attempts to get rid of this foreign body with an inflammatory response. Initially we have to deal with the acne itself, then it adds to the problem by leaving scars on our skin, forever reminding us of our bad skin. Acne scars are similar to other scars in that they are the result of a wound which has healed, leaving collagen behind. The difference is that the scars generally occur in the skin's deeper, dermis layer.
Types of Acne
Whiteheads : Also called closed comedones, they typically appear on your skin as small, whitish bumps. When the pores of your skin accumulate oils or sebum, you get whiteheads. This plugs your skin’s follicles and the clogged areas are not exposed to air. (With blackheads, air causes oxidation, and that oxidation darkens the tips of clogged areas.)
Blackhead : A blackhead is created when a follicle in your skin becomes plugged and pushes through the surface. Technically called open comedones, they are typically caused by your skin producing too much oil. This oil, when exposed to air, turns black in color because of a buildup of melanin, skin’s dark pigment. Therefore blackheads are not caused by dirt as a lot of people think.
Papules : Papules are small, firm cone-shaped bumps that are pink in color. It’s basically an inflamed whitehead. That’s why they’re tender to touch unlike other forms of acne. They contain no pus. Since they don’t contain pus you should never pop or poke them. If you do you might seriously irritate your skin and aggravate your existing pimples – and possibly end up with a permanent scar – with zero effect on the papules themselves. Like papules, pustules are small, round lesions. You’ll notice they’re red in color with yellowish or whitish centers (caused by visible pus). While it may be tempting to pop a pustule – don’t do it. You could end up with a permanent scar.
Nodular Acne : Nodular Acne are severely inflamed, painful , hard lesions lodged deep within the skin.
Cysts : Cysts are softer, pus-filled lesions, also deep under the skin. They develop when the contents of your comedones (a medical term for whiteheads or blackheads) have spilled into the surrounding areas. Your body’s local immune system responds to this ‘attack’ by producing pus. Unlike other forms of acne, nodules may persist for weeks or even months, the result of their contents hardening into deep (and stubborn) cysts. Cystic acne is the most serious type of skin acne,although nodules do not always develop into cysts.
There are no overnight ‘cures,’ and acne doesn’t just ‘go away.’ Your body, your skin and your acne are all unique to you. That means you need to find acne treatments that works best for your situation. There are a variety of options available today - from benzoyl peroxide to laser treatments to herbal remedies. We might all be familiar with the brand names of products , what’s really important is the active ingredients in those products and how they work against the acne, whether it’s targeting acne bacteria, keeping pores clear of blockages, or reducing inflammation.