What is Acne? Causes and Treatment

Medically known as Acne Vulgaris, acne is a skin infection that involves the oil glands at the base of the hair follicles. It usually occurs during puberty, when the sebaceous glands come to life.

Acne begins to develop when greasy secretions from the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands plug the tiny openings for hair follicles, leading to plugged pores.

According to Dr. Iyad Hijjawi, Regional Business Consultant for Mena and Turkey at Euromonitor International, the Middle East and Africa have surpassed Latin America in terms of the fastest growing skin care market!

If you’re living in a Middle Eastern country, there are greater chances that you have to deal with pimples, given the hot and dusty climate that fosters the clogging of pores. The hot weather produces oil in the body due to which zits can appear on your face.

But before jumping to acne treatment, it is important to understand why the problem occurs.

Why Does Acne Develop?

  • Hormonal changes – As we approach puberty, our reproductive hormones kick into action. Both boys and girls produce high levels of androgens, the male sex hormone that also includes testosterone, during puberty. Testosterone signals the body to make more sebum, the oil produced in the skin’s oil glands. In women, the hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle may cause a flare-up of pimples.
  • Bacteria – Excess sebum clogs the openings to the hair follicles, especially those on the face, back, chest and neck. Bacteria grow in these clogged follicles. This leads to blackheads or whiteheads on the skin’s surface.

Treatment Options

  • Benzoyl Peroxide – Benzoyl peroxide is a white crystalline peroxide used in bleaching, which also acts as a peeling agent. It kills bacteria and slows down the production of oil.
  • Sulfur – Sulfur is a yellow crystalline solid that helps remove whiteheads and blackheads. It has been used for centuries and scientists have confirmed that it is an effective acne treatment.
  • Salicylic Acid – Salicylic Acid is a white crystalline substance that is effective agent in eliminating whiteheads and blackheads. It is also helps with inflammation and swelling.
  • Retin-A – Retin-A contains Tretinoin, which is an acid form of Vitamin A. It helps reduce pimples and is also used in the treatment of acute leukemia.
  • Azelaic Acid – Azelaic Acid strengthens cells that line the follicles, prevents oil eruptions, decreases bacterial growth, reduces inflammation, etc. It is found naturally in wheat, rye and barley. It is really useful for people with darker skin.

Having acne is absolutely normal and not at all a serious health issue. However, if not treated at the right time, it can get aggravated and also lead to long term scarring. Therefore, if you are facing a skin problem, make sure to consult an experienced professional for the best treatment.

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