Acne vulgaris is very common and can happen to anyone. In fact, in United States, statistics show that 70 percent of the population will suffer from this condition at one point in their lifetime. Though acne can offer no serious threats to the health, this is a condition that can bring physical damage as well as emotional damage to the person. With this, it is important that you are well aware of what this condition is and what acne vulgaris treatment options are available for a successful fight against it.
Acne Vulgaris: Its Signs and Symptoms
Acne vulgaris is a very common human disease that is characterized by areas of the skin with scaly red skin, blackheads and whiteheads, pinheads, pimples, and scarring. This affects the skin areas with the most population of sebaceous follicles such as the face, back, and upper part of the chest. Acne vulgaris can start from being mild to moderate to being severe. The symptoms of mild to moderate acne vulgaris include:
- Whiteheads. This results when a pore is blocked completely, which results in trapping the sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This is characterized by a white appearance on the skin surface.
- Blackheads. This results when a pore is just partially blocked, which allows some of the trapped sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria to drain to the surface slowly. The black appearance is the skin’s melanin reacting with the oxygen.
- Papules or pinheads. These are inflamed, tender, and red bumps on the skin with no heads. Squeezing papules can potentially lead to exacerbate scarring.
- Pustules or pimples. This is an inflamed red circle with a white or yellow center.
Due to irritation and inflammation, acne vulgaris can go from mild or moderate to severe. This condition requires more attention since this is already a serious. The symptoms of severe acne vulgaris include:
- Nodules. These are acne spots that are large and hard occurring under the surface of the skin, which often leads to scarring. They often last for several months. If this is left untreated, a nodule can leave an impaction that can flare again and again over time.
- Cysts. This looks similar to a nodule but it is filled with pus. It often appears to have a diameter of 5mm across and can even be wider. Cysts are painful and can cause deeper infection and inflammation as well as scarring.
Causes of Acne Vulgaris
There are a lot of potential acne vulgaris causes. Besides the overproduction of the sebum oil, there are a lot of other factors that can trigger the outburst of acne. This includes the following:
- Genetics. Getting acne vulgaris usually runs in families. Several studies were conducted pointing to the fact that when a person experiences acne, it is likely that his children will experience the same issue when they reach the same age.
- Hormones. Fluctuations in the hormones in the body can heavily influence the outburst of acne vulgaris. This can be supported by the fact that acne is often experienced by teenagers and women who are in their menstrual period. During puberty, it can be explained that the male sex hormones cause the follicular glands to grow larger and this results in the production of more sebum.
- Diet. Some foods can promote the onset of acne. They are often foods that encourage a high glycemic load such as cow’s milk and also salt and chocolate.
- Infections. Several bacteria can cause an outbreak to occur. This includes the P. Acnes and Staphylococcus Epidermidis.
- Psychological. A lot of professionals believe that acne vulgaris can be caused by anxiety, depression, and stress. Several studies have found out that an increased acne severity can be significantly associated with an increased stress level.
Pictures of Acne Vulgaris
(picture courtesy: www.webmd.com )
At the first onset of acne vulgaris, there are certain things you can do to not make it any worse. More often than not, some of these measures can be good acne vulgaris home treatment options. Check out these following tips in managing your acne vulgaris:
- Follow a good skincare routine. It is ideal to wash your skin with warm water and mild cleansing products every morning and every evening.
- Eliminate the consumption of sugary and greasy foods.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and consume plenty of water for your skin health.
- Avoid greasy cosmetics and creams. As much as possible, look for water-based or noncomedogenic formulas for your makeup products.
- Take off your makeup at night.
- If your hair is oily, shampoo it daily. Comb it backwards so that your hair is kept out of your face all the time.
- Avoid touching your face with your hands or fingers.
- Do not squeeze, pick, rub, or squeeze the pimples. This can only lead to scarring and infections.
Topical and Oral Treatments
There are a variety of acne vulgaris treatments available today. Some of these medications include:
This is the first treatment in line for mild to moderate acne vulgaris. It is known to be an effective acne vulgaris cure and have lesser side effects. This treatment works to fight bacteria that may be causing the acne. Its mild side effects include dryness of the skin, occasional peeling, slight redness, and increased sun sensitivity.
These are reserved for more severe cases of the acne vulgaris. They work to fight the P. Acnes bacterium. Some of the most common antibiotics for acne treatment are eythromycin, tetracyclines, and clindamycin.
This is done with females in curing acne vulgaris. This is the reason why birth control pills are highly known as acne pills.
These work to normalize the follicle cell life cycle. However, they can cause side effects such as significant skin irritation.
This is a daily oral intake of vitamin A derivative for four to six months, which can result to a long-term resolution or reduction of acne vulgaris. Oral retinoids work to reduce the secretion of oils from the glands.
Anti-inflammatories like Nicotinamide can help reduce skin hyperpigmentation or acne scars, increase skin moisture, and treat acne through its anti-inflammatory properties.
Diagnosing Acne Vulgaris
The signs and symptoms above can very well tell you whether or not you have acne vulgaris. You can follow the self-care regimens mentioned above to help you deal with the problem. However, it is not at all times that you have to attend to the condition by yourself. It is time to see a dermatologist if you think self-care measures and even over-the-counter medications are not helping anymore. This is also true if you see your acne getting worse over time.
A dermatologist can diagnose your acne vulgaris through the help of several test options. One acne grading technique is Leeds. This counts lesions and categorizes them into inflammatory and non-inflammatory with scores from 0 to 10. Another grading scale is Cook, which uses acne vulgaris pictures to grade the severity of the acne from 0 to 8. Lastly, there is the Pillsbury scale that classifies the severity of the condition from 1 as least severe to 4 as most severe.
Topical and oral treatments may sometimes not work as expected. This is especially true when the acne is so severe and the scarring is very serious. This is where surgical procedures are recommended:
- Dermabrasion. This is a cosmetic procedure where the skin’s surface is removed through abrasion or sanding. This removes the damaged skin and helps lessen and get rid of acne scars and dark spots on the skin. This procedure is very painful and as a result, the skin will appear very red and raw. This can take several months for the skin to heal and re-grow.
- Microdermabrasion. This works the same way as dermabrasion only this is more natural, gentler, and less invasive. Its goal is to get rid of the epidermis, the superficial layer of the skin.
- Laser treatment. This is often used to reduce the scars left behind by acne. However, it can also work to completely cure acne vulgaris as the laser light can burn away the sebaceous gland that produces the oil, kill the bacteria on the skin, and burn the follicle sac where the hair grows. However, laser treatment can be expensive.
- Photodynamic therapy. This can help decrease the number of inflammatory acne lesion by around 70 percent in four weeks of photodynamic therapy.
Home Remedies for Acne Vulgaris
There are certain home remedies for acne that you can consider, too. However, take note that these options can only be trusted when you have mild to moderate acne condition.
- Turmeric and coriander juice. Combine a pinch of turmeric powder and a teaspoon of coriander juice. Wash your face thoroughly first and then apply this mixture. Let the mixture sit on the face overnight. Wash your face the following morning. Turmeric and coriander juice are known to treat pimples and blackheads.
- Raw potato juice. Apply a raw potato juice on your skin. A high concentration of sulphur, potassium, phosphorus, and chlorine in potato can cleanse the skin well.
- Garlic paste. Garlic, being a natural antibiotic, has one of the highest success rates as a treatment for acne vulgaris. Make a garlic paste and then apply it all over the acne until it dries off. Wash this after a few minutes. This will help clear pimples, spots, and boils.
- Orange peel. Pound an orange peel with water and apply this on the acne-affected skin areas. Orange peels are acidic, which helps cleanse the skin of the excess sebum.
- Lemon juice. Applying lemon juice regularly on the face can help remove acne. Like the orange peel, lemon juice is acidic and is beneficial for the overall skin health. For blackheads, it is a good approach to combine lemon juice and fresh mint leaf juice. This also works to reduce inflammation.
Acne Vulgaris and Proper Diet
Changing your diet can help you deal with acne vulgaris. A wise dietary change is often a good way of not only treating acne but also in preventing future breakouts.
- Limit milk and dairy foods. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, it is best to avoid milk and dairy products like cheese and butter because they may contain hormones since they come from dairy cattle that are pregnant. Instead, you may switch to milk alternatives for drinking and baking such as rice beverage.
- Stay away from sweet foods. Refined carbohydrates can cause the blood glucose and insulin to rise. This can disrupt hormonal activities in the system.
- Go for omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to reduce the inflammatory acne lesions. Hence, it is advised that you eat more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as halibut, salmon, herring, walnuts, and flaxseed.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables. Did you know that low intake of vitamins A and C is linked to acne severity? This is why it is suggested that you munch up on fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins for acne treatment like apricots, carrots, kale, kiwi, red pepper, papaya, citrus fruits, and spinach.
- Pack up on antioxidants. Acne patients need a higher dose of antioxidant nutrients for treating the condition. Food sources of antioxidants include berries, grapes, grapefruits, parsley, artichokes, lemon, spinach, soybeans, pecans, walnuts, and a lot more.
- Eat zinc-rich foods. People with acne usually have lower blood and skin levels of zinc. Zinc can reduce the levels of dihydrotestosterone that aggravates acne. It is recommended for you to take 50 milligrams of zinc every day to improve acne. Food sources of zinc are beans, whole grain breads, beans, and cereals.
Prevention of Acne
Preventing the onset of acne in the first place can save you from a lot of trouble. Since acne vulgaris can happen to everyone, it is best to follow a routine to at least decrease your chances of getting acne. Follow these following acne prevention guides:
- Take care of you face all the time. Wash it with gentle soap and avoid scrubbing it or washing it too often.
- Avoid heavy sweating. Sweating can cause breakouts of acne. If you cannot avoid sweating out, wash as soon as you finish your activities.
- Keep your hair off your face, especially if it is too oily.
- Keep away from too much sun exposure.
- Go to a dermatologist regularly. Have your skin examined and get tips and advice on how to avoid or manage acne vulgaris.
- Change to a healthy diet. Avoid greasy and sweet foods. Instead, munch up on foods containing essential vitamins to help prevent acne.
- Choose a toner for your face wisely. Do not go for products that have a high concentration of isopropyl alcohol. This is a very strong astringent that can cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
Share with use your fight against acne vulgaris. What are the treatment options that have worked best for your condition?