Acne is one of the most common and most widely known skin conditions. Affecting over 70% of adolescents and in some cases persisting well into adulthood, acne vulgaris is a condition that affects skin, causing blemishes and sometimes scarring. While it is commonly occurring and not necessarily life threatening, seeking acne treatment early can help prevent scarring of the skin. More importantly, managing acne can teach young people the importance of valuing themselves and improve their self-esteem. To learn about the classifications of acne, symptoms, and the best way to approach treatment, read more in this comprehensive guide.
What is acne?
The largest organ in the human body, our skin is composed of fats, protein, minerals, and water. It creates a barrier between the outside world and our muscles and sinews. Its most external layer has several tiny holes called pores, which allow oil and sweat to circulate through skin, keeping it healthy and helping regulate the body’s temperature. They also serve as openings for hair follicles. Because these pores are exposed openings in the skin, they can sometimes become clogged. Dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and oils are often the most usual substances that block pores. When they do, this can cause blemishes, sometimes referred to as zits or pimples.
When patients develop pimples frequently, especially multiples of them at a time, this may be a sign that they have acne. These skin blemishes can take several forms and some patients can develop a combination of different kinds throughout the skin, particularly when they have a severe case of acne. If you or anyone you know is concerned about whether or not they have acne and is seeking immediate and convenient medical advice, you may check out our FAQs.
What are the different types of acne?
Patients with acne often experience different types of blemishes. These pimples can be determined and classified by dermatologists, who would also be able to recommend treatment for them. While the best approach would be to consult with one of our doctors, there are some visual cues and physical signs that can indicate the type of acne that a patient is dealing with. Below are some of the most commonly developed forms of acne:
- Whiteheads – Whiteheads are classified as comedones and are some of the most common forms of acne. They can be found on the chest, back, shoulders, and arms and are characterized by closed clogged pores.
- Blackheads – Similar to whiteheads, blackheads are comedones that can also be found on the chest, back, shoulders, and arms. However, they are called blackheads because they are open clogged pores, with peaks and centers that appear darker as a result of being exposed to open air.
- Papules – Papules are most commonly found on the face and appear conical in shape. They are usually quite small, averaging at under 1cm, and the same color as a patient’s skin.
- Pustules – Pustules are essentially large pimples, and are characterized by a buildup of pus under skin, causing it to bulge in certain areas.
- Nodules – Nodular acne is a more severe form of acne that can typically last for weeks or a few months. Nodules appear as hard knots or lumps that develop under the surface of skin, potentially leading to infection or inflammation. Some nodules are painful and require the help of a dermatologist for treatment.
- Cysts – Most commonly affecting patients with oily skin, cystic acne is considered the most severe form of acne. In this form, large pus-filled cysts form deep under the skin’s surface, creating the largest and most visible skin lesions out of all the acne types. Cysts can develop on other areas such as the arms, chest, back, and neck, but they are most commonly found on the face. For this particular classification, the best acne solution would be to consult with a medical professional.
What are the symptoms of acne?
Although each form of acne has its own visual distinctions, there are symptoms that are consistent throughout each classification. Acne breakouts can most commonly be found on the face and neck, as well as the back, shoulders, and chest. In these areas, acne will give the skin a rough and uneven texture in addition to causing skin discoloration. Acne also causes pain and tenderness in affected areas. Whatever symptoms you are experiencing and however severe, a dermatologist will be able to guide you on how to treat acne and investigate its root causes.
What causes acne?
As with most medical conditions, causes of acne are affected by environmental, genetic, and lifestyle risk factors. Some of the simplest and most common factors that affect the likelihood of acne are clogged pores, excess production of sebum or oil, inflammation, and bacteria. There are other more nuanced causes that may trigger or aggravate acne, such as:
- Hormonal changes – When there are hormonal changes within the body, especially a spike in the production of androgens, sebaceous glands can enlarge and produce more oil. This can cause breakouts, particularly in adolescent patients approaching or undergoing puberty.
- Medications – Specific medications, such as drugs that have lithium, testosterone, or corticosteroids, can cause changes in the body that may trigger a breakout.
- Diet – Some dietary choices, especially those involving food that are rich in carbohydrates, can aggravate acne.
- Stress – Although stress doesn’t directly cause acne, patients who have already developed acne can sometimes experience worse breakouts during particularly stressful times.
How can you treat acne?
Each patient’s case is unique, so treatment will vary from patient to patient. The root cause of acne is blockage, so maintaining a thorough skin care routine that suits the patient’s skin helps reduce the risk of developing acne. Dermatologists will typically prescribe patients acne treatment depending on the severity of their case.
Mild acne cases can be addressed with spot treatments, medicated creams, and specialized cleansers. Some common ingredients found in these products are benzoyl peroxide (to dry out pimples and reduce the risk of new ones developing) and salicylic acid (to exfoliate skin and unclog acne-causing bacteria from pores).
Moderate to severe acne cases often require professional attention, as well as doctor-prescribed medications and treatments. Some doctors can prescribe antibiotics and retinoids that will help manage symptoms, especially for patients who are beginning to experience pain and serious breakouts. To find out how you can receive expert medical care for your acne, learn how EVA works today.
How EVA Teleconsult can help with acne treatment
- Appointments that start on time – We respect your time and commit to starting every session right at the time that you book.
- Guaranteed 30 minutes of consultation – You’ll have every opportunity to ask follow-up questions about your concerns, and we’ll never rush through a session.
- Exhaustive explanations about your concerns – We’ll make sure you have complete knowledge about your concern, so you can make the best decision for yourself and your loved ones.