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Acne is a word that can instil stress and fear in many of us, perhaps unsurprising as it is the most common skin condition in the world. From pus-filled pimples to their residing scarring, it ca sometimes feel like an exhausting battle against these breakouts. However, you should not let this get you down!
Understanding what causes these outbreaks and getting clued up on key ingredients that can help reduce their appearance, severity and spread are the first steps to clearer skin.
What is acne?
Our skin has tiny holes, pores, that can become blocked by oil, dead skin cells and dirt. When this happens, it is likely that you can develop a pimple. When too much sebu is produced, it can block the follicles beneath the skin, introducing familiar friends: blackheads and whiteheads. If you are experiencing pimples often and several at once, this may be a sign that you have acne.
Acne is a very common condition especially in teenagers and younger adults.
It is said that around 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent. It is interesting to note that most people have acne on and off for several years before their condition starts to improve as they get older. Acne often disappears when a person is in their mid-20s.
However, acne can continue into adult life. About 3% of adults have acne over the age of 35.
What are the different types of acne?
If you have acne, it is possible that you will experience a series of pimple types.
Whiteheads and blackheads, both referred to as comedones, are the most common acne lesions.
- Blackheads, or open comedones, open at the sutface of your skin.
- Whiteheads, or closed comedones, form as raised bumps under the surface of your skin.
Inflammatory lesions, which are more likely to cause scarring of your skin include:
Papules: these occur when the walls surrounding your pores break down due to inflammation. The result is hard, clogged pores with the skin around them usually being pink.
Pustules: these are also formed due to the walls around them breaking down. Howveer, unlike papules, they are filled with puss. These come out of the skin and are usually more inflamed and red.
Nodules: these occur when swollen, clogged pores endure further irritation and enlarge. These are deeper underneath the skin, so usually they cannot be treated with home remedies. Specific treatments or prescription medication is necessary to clear these up.
Cysts: cysts develop due to a combination of bacteria, sebum and dead skin cells clogging the pores. The clogs are found deep within the skin and are further below the surface than nodules. Cysts are the largest form of acne and their formation usually results from a severe infection.
what are the symptoms of acne?
It is interesting to note that acne can be found almost anywhere on your body, but some of the most common areas are:
- Face and neck
With acne, on top of breakouts, you can also experience the following:
- Skin discolouration, hyperpigmentation and redness
- Inflammation and swelling in affected areas
- Pain and tenderness
Causes of acne
As briefly mentioned before, acne occurs when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria. These pores connect to oil glands under the skin. Follicles then connect these glands onto the pores; follicles are small sacs that produce and secrete liquid. These glands produce sebum. Sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin.
It is when these get blocked that those pimples grow.
There are several factors that can trigger then onset of acne, however, the main causes is thought to be an increase in androgen levels. Androgen is a type of hormone that rises during when adolescence begins. In women, it gets converted into oestrogen.
Rising androgen levels cause the oil glands under the skin to grow meaning that it produces more sebum. Excessive sebum can break down walls in the pores, causing bacteria to grow.
Other potential triggers
- Some studies suggest that genetic factors may increase the risk of developing acne.
Other causes include:
- Some medication which contain androgen and lithium
- Emotional stress
- Cleansers, creams, moisturisers and other beauty products with high oil content.
- PCOS and other endocrine conditions
According to a 2021 review, certain foods or diets may have an effect on acne:
- Low glycemic index diet; cutting out processed meats and refined carbs could help reduce acne lesions.
- Milk products
- Fat and fatty acids
how to get rid of acne
So, what can you do? Whilst the key is tacking the root cause (which can be explored with a dermatologist or doctor), there are some amazing ingredients to help you reduce and treat breakouts when they do occur.
Salicylic acid is a key ingredient to clean up excess oil and reduce oil levels in the future. Salicylic Acid is oil soluble meaning it can exfoliate your pore lining and decrease oil build-up. What does this mean for you? It can reach underneath excess oil and dead skin deep inside your pores, unlike other skincare ingredients that only combat issues on top of your pores. Acne bacteria are known to not like oxygen (thus the reason why they thrive under clogged pores). As Salicylic acid can unclog and exfoliate pores, fresh air is able to get into the skin and creates more of an oxygen-rich environment which is less friendly to acne bacteria.
An ingredient that is gentle enough for sensitive skin, yet strong enough to treat acne? Yes, you read that correctly! It is interesting to note that Niacinamide has inflammatory properties. Since acne is an inflammatory condition, that inflammation often leads to breakouts with delayed healing and acne scarring. Even more interestingly, according to a 2018 study, topical Niacinamide may be able to reduce the number of acne spots on your skin by 40-60% so umm… please sign us up! By combining the inflammatory properties of Niacinamide with its ability to reduce sebum production, you can rock your no-makeup days with confidence and breakout-free skin!
Succinic Acid is a bio-based chemical derived from corn and is amazing at helping to reduce the appearance of blemishes by unclogging pores. Not only this, it can also help reduce acne bacteria on the skin, a usually harmless skin bacteria that can cause inflammatory acne when hair follicles become blocked.
Expert, professional skincare
We have now tackled the outbreaks. However, there are other preventative measures you can put in place when your skin is clearer and under control so that there are no nasty nodules brewing under the surface and so that you can maintain the health of your skin.
- Manage stress
- Diet & Exercise
what can viederma offer you?
At VieDerma, we offer top-end treatments and products for fighting back against the physiological and psychological implications of acne. Our plans are so advanced and effective that they not only help halt the condition’s onset, but also allow you to enjoy the longer-term benefits of fresh, healthy skin.
We also have skin treatments for reducing the appearance of scarring caused by acne. Our skin specialists will discuss the best treatment plan for you and help you to manage a skincare regimen designed for keeping acne at bay.