What is acne? Why does it happen? How to treat it? What to avoid? Find out your all answers here about acne.
Teenage is the phase of life when people are most conscious about their appearance. Ironically, it is the same age when various skin problems like acnes start popping up. This is because teens are going through the puberty, which comes with many hormonal changes. Hormones are the chemicals that are instrumental in physical changes when you go from being a kid to an adult. Besides, stress and family history of acne are the major causes of acne breakouts in teens.
It is the most common skin condition in the USA as 85% young people age 12-24 experience at least minor acne, according to the Academy of Dermatologists. Acne tends to go away by the time you are young adults.
Despite being a common skin condition, acne breakouts can affect one’s self esteem. Even worse, it can lead to suicidal tendency, especially among the “look conscious teens.”
Types of Acne:
Acne has been categorized into “non-inflammatory” and “inflammatory”. Further, these categories have been divided into subtypes like blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.
Non-inflammatory Types Include:
Non-inflammatory types are the mildest forms of acne and can be treated with OTC topical medications.
Blackheads happen when a pore is clogged by sebum and dead skin cells. The top of the pore looks open while the rest of it being blocked, bringing the “black skin” on the surface.
Whiteheads are also formed by clogged pores with sebum and dead skin cells. However, the top of the pore closes up which differs it from blackheads. Whiteheads resemble a small bump popping on the skin.
Inflammatory Types Include:
This category includes red and swollen acnes, which are painful and often required medical aid. Besides sebum and dead skin cells, bacteria are a major cause of their formation causing infection beneath the skin’s surface. Even worse, they are not easier to get rid of. Some inflammatory types of acne are…
Your skin develops papules when the walls encircling your pores break down from severe inflammation. It leads to hard and clogged pores that are “soft” to the touch. Generally, the pores are surrounded by the pink skin.
Pustules are also formed by the breakdown of the skin surrounding the pores. Unlike papules, these bumps are filled with pus. They are red in color with yellow or white heads on top.
Nodular acne is an aggravated form of acne determined by the large, swollen and painful breakouts. They often require medical assistance as they are deep within the skin.
Cysts occur when the pores are clogged by bacteria along with sebum and dead skin cells. They are deep within the skin and are characterized by large red or white bumps, which are often painful to the touch. They are most likely to end up with a scar.
What Causes Acne in Teenagers?
- Overactive oil glands can produce excessive oil, which combine with the dead cells to clog the pores. Even worse, the clogged pores are hoarded with the bacteria.
- Androgens are also said to responsible for acne breakouts. They are the hormones that are excessive in both boys and girls during puberty, making the skin’s oil glands larger and producing more sebum.
- Genetics may also matter. If your parents had acne, you are more likely to experience the issue.
- Medications like lithium, prednisone, epilepsy also cause breakouts.
- Greasy cosmetics clog the pores, making your skin vulnerable to acne.
- Picking or squeezing lesions or blemishes.
- Friction caused by rubbing the skin or harsh scrubbing.
- Pressure caused by wearing something tight like helmets, collars or backpacks.
- Fluctuating hormones levels in girls two to seven days before the arrival of menstrual period.
- Consuming excessive glycemic rich foods like white grains and sweets.
How to Get Rid of Teen Acne?
Wash Your Face Regularly with Mild Cleansers:
Given that clogged pores lead to acne breakouts, it is essential to wash your face twice times a day. However, you should use mild cleansers which are compatible with your skin type.
Exfoliate Two to Three Times a Week:
Exfoliation is the process to remove the dead skin and oils from the skin by scrubbing it. However, you shouldn’t exfoliate every time you wash your face as it may irritate your skin and strip away oil in excess. Instead, exfoliate two to three times per week. Again, choose the skin friendly exfoliate product.
Use Natural Remedies:
There are many natural remedies for acne which are known for their medicinal properties like antibacterial, moisturizing and skin healing. These include tea tree oil extract, lemon juice extract, papaya fruit, green tea extract and aloe vera. Apply them on your pimples at night after exfoliating the skin. Some of these provide antibacterial support while others nourish your skin and help reduce the effects of oil filled pores.
Stay Hydrated and Take Balanced Diet:
Your skin needs lots of water and essential nutrients to stay healthy. Water keeps your skin hydrated and moisturized. It also flushes out the toxins from the body. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water in a day. Focus on balanced diet that includes whole grains, beans, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies. Avoid taking junk and oily foods.
Use Acne Medications:
Alternatively, one of the effective over-the-counter medications is Benzoyl peroxide, which removes bacteria and opens up clogged pores, thereby healing acne. 2.5% to 5% is an ideal quantity of benzoyl peroxide. Apply it before going to the bed. Likewise, AHAs or alpha hydroxyl acids have been a trusted medication for acne. It is also available as OTC medication. Apart from BP and AHAs, retinoid is useful for acne.
See Your Doctor:
If you don’t see improvement or the acne is getting worse, it is better to see your dermatologist.
AVOID DOING THESE THINGS
Don’t Pick Your Acne:
Don’t pick your acne as it will only aggravate the problem. This is because it hurts the acne and affects its healing rate. On the top of that, bacteria from your hands and fingernails can pass on to the acnes.
Avoid Using Excessive Makeup and Lotions:
It will cover your face with the heavy layers of grease and chemical, thereby cutting the oxygen supply to the pimples.
Don’t Consume Junk or Oily Food:
Excessive intake of junk food, daily products and soda increases skin’s production of oil and sebum along with inflammation—all of which lead to acne breakouts.
So this was all about teen acne and the ways to deal with it. Keep in mind that having acne is totally normal and you shouldn’t worry over it. If there is no improvement, make sure to consult your dermatologist.
Alinn Smith is Introvert, Internet trailblazer, blog aficionado, creator, avid thinker and hardcore yogini. Currently she is studying dermatology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She is working with Dr. Numb and Dr. Scabies as writer to write upon skincare, sustainable living, organic food and healthy life.