Acne / Acne Scars
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, so if you have acne you’re not alone: 40 to 50 million Americans have acne.
Acne, even when it’s mild, is a medical condition that can result in physical scarring, anxiety and emotional distress. Some acne treatments work to clear up existing acne as well as helping to prevent new acne from forming. In fact, experts recommend that people with acne start treatment as soon as possible to prevent the physical and emotional impact of acne.
The basic acne lesion, called the comedo (KOM-e-do), is simply an enlarged and plugged hair follicle.
40% of people have acne, or acne scars, that need dermatologic treatment. However, acne doesn’t necessarily go away with adolescence — adults with acne may suffer into their 20s, 30s and beyond.
Acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones and other substances on the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands) and hair follicles. These factors lead to plugged pores and outbreaks of lesions commonly called pimples, or zits. Acne lesions usually occur on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. Although acne is usually not a serious health threat, it can be a source of significant emotional distress. Acne can also lead to permanent scarring.
- One important factor is an increase in hormones called androgens. These increase in both boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum.
- The lining of the wall of the hair follicle sheds skin cells, which then stick together with the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands. This causes a plug to form below the surface of the skin. This plug cannot be washed away. This process can take days to weeks for a visible lesion to form. Whiteheads and blackheads are the result of this clogging of the pores. The sebum and cell debris together contribute to the growth of bacteria that naturally live in your pores.
- Your body's own immune system will naturally attempt to clear the clogged pores by sending in certain specialized cells that invade the follicle to help clean it up. However, in the process, the wall of the follicle may weaken and rupture, emptying the contents of the follicle into the surrounding tissue. When this occurs, swelling or redness can develop around the affected follicle, resulting in the larger bumps or pimples characteristic of acne. These are known as papules and pustules and can sometimes cause scarring.
- Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills can also cause acne.
- Another factor is heredity or genetics. Researchers believe that the tendency to develop acne can be inherited from parents. For example, studies have shown that many school-age boys with acne have a family history of the disorder.
- Certain drugs, including androgens and lithium, are known to cause acne.
- Greasy cosmetics may alter the cells of the follicles and make them stick together, producing a plug.
Factors That Can Make Acne Worse
How many of the following factors that can cause an acne flare are familiar to you?
- Oil from skin and hair products (moisturizers, cosmetics or hairspray) or grease encountered in the work environment (for example, a kitchen with fry vats)
- Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women 2 to 7 days before their menstrual period starts
- Pressure from sports helmets or equipment, backpacks, tight collars, or tight sports uniforms
- Environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity
- Squeezing or picking at blemishes
- Hard scrubbing of the skin
At Artistic Beauty Aestrhetic Center, and the staff of aestheticians will take care of your acne problems. You will be satisfied with the results.