Acne is the most common skin condition during adolescence
It is characterized by seborrhea and the formation of acne, papules and pustules in places rich in sebaceous glands (forehead and central part of the face, the so-called T-zone, arms, the area between the shoulder blades and the upper chest).
Acne is the eighth most common disease in the world, affecting 9.4% of the general population and up to 90% of people during puberty.
The peak incidence occurs in girls a little earlier – at the age of 14 to 17 years (the first symptoms can begin around 11-12 years old, just before the first menstruation), and in boys from 16 to 19 years. There are more or less serious skin changes. Flare-ups of symptoms occur in about 10 percent of people. It turned out that the earlier acne occurs, the more likely it is to develop severe and prolonged.
Why do some people have acne and others don’t?
The onset of acne is the result of many factors interacting, including genetic predisposition (the disease is more likely to occur when it is found that, for example, parents and grandparents are suffering from it).
The most important processes associated with acne formation include:
• Excessive sebum production (increased sebum production is the cause of acne due to various hormonal changes);
• Violations of keratosis of sebaceous follicles (their obstruction leads to the formation of micro-acne);
• Multiplication in the sebaceous glands of anaerobic bacteria of the genus Propionibacterium, mainly P. acnes (this is facilitated by the excessive production and accumulation of sebum, and the closure of the outlet of the sebaceous glands),
• Inflammation. When bacteria multiply in hair follicles, inflammatory eruptions such as papules, pustules, nodules, cysts, cysts are formed.
The first two phenomena occur, among other things, during hormonal changes during puberty, mainly as a result of increased production of hormones and androgens. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to increase sebum production in the seborrheic follicles.
Acne skin is characterized by intense seborrhea, which causes acne, papules, pustules, inflammatory infiltrates and cysts that form in the seborrheic hair follicles.
Acne, depending on the severity of the skin lesion, is divided into:
Light pimples – blackheads and mild pustular pimples;
Moderate acne – more severe cases of papulopustular acne and mild cases of purulent acne;
Severe acne – refers to severe purulent lesions when infiltrates, cysts and fistulas occur. As a result, scarring may appear (10% of patients develop severe symptoms). A few percent of patients develop a red, severe swelling in the area of the pimple, a keloid (or keloid), a type of hypertrophied, thickened, and raised scar.
Less common forms of acne include neonatal and infant acne and early acne (with general symptoms of severe, high-speed signaling).
There are people whose acne begins only at the age of about thirty, this is called late acne, says the professor, head of the dermatological, pediatric and oncological clinic of dermatology at the Medical University. Then an aggravated version of the disease often develops, without a comedone stage, purulent formations are formed.
The development of acne in adulthood is also hormonal. Skin problems can appear, among others, with polycystic ovary syndrome. In mature women, acne can suppress hormonal drugs. For example, when they stop taking it because they want to get pregnant, symptoms of the disease may appear.
In mature men, acne can appear as a result of steroid use, says the professor. When the level of testosterone in the blood rises excessively, the production of DHT in the body increases, which extremely aggressively stimulates the skin glands to produce sebum.
Factors that increase acne
There are many factors that can make acne worse. Its symptoms can be aggravated by:
• Hormonal disorders (for example, about 60-70% of women experience worsening premenstrual acne lesions).
• the sun
• Certain medications
• Stress (increases the hypersensitivity of androgen, the hormone responsible for increasing sebum production).
Milk and acne
Acne is an inflammatory disease, so the diet should be free of anti-inflammatory foods and many anti-inflammatory drugs.
Diet is very important in counteracting the severity of acne symptoms, the professor emphasizes. – The most important thing is to avoid: chocolate and other products containing cocoa, spices, as well as hot ketchup or mustard, and limit the consumption of cow’s milk and its products.
Several studies have shown a link between milk consumption and the severity of acne symptoms. One of the proposed mechanisms is that cow’s milk contains a high concentration of growth hormones and metabolic steroids, which are designed for the rapid growth of calves.
Milk component, among others insulin-like growth factor IGF-1. High plasma levels of this hormone caused by milk consumption stimulate sebum production, causing acne. It has been observed that women who have acne have higher levels of this factor.
In 2011, the Amercan Academy of Dermatology magazine published a study in which patients ate chocolate. Significant changes in the severity of acne have already occurred after one meal.
Some patients also experience flare-ups after consuming other simple carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweets or sweetened beverages.
What diet aggravates the symptoms?
In addition to IGF-1, insulin also stimulates sebum production, so a low glycemic index diet is recommended for patients (sugar, white bread, white rice, which increase blood glucose and insulin, should be lowered).
A diet with a high glycemic load increases the onset and intensity of acne. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fiber, limiting the intake of dairy products, simple sugars and processed foods is optimal.
The researchers noted that there was no reported acne among the population living in traditional settings and consuming unprocessed foods. However, when Western eating habits were introduced there – people started drinking sugary sodas, beef, dairy products and convenience foods – acne was diagnosed among them.
It has also been tested (mainly in animals) whether substances found naturally in plants are effective against acne. Green tea catechins have been shown to inhibit sebum production. Research has also shown that resveratrol, found in the skins of red grapes, red wine, peanuts, and mulberries, has bactericidal activity against Propionibacterium acne and therefore bacteria that are involved in acne formation.
The correct level of zinc, which is essential for the development and proper functioning of the skin, is also important in acne therapy. Studies have shown that patients with acne are often deficient in this element. However, be careful with its dosage because high doses of zinc can cause adverse gastrointestinal effects and copper deficiency.
Will acne disappear by itself?
Acne can disappear before the age of 20. However, some patients have chronic, long-term, and relapsing illness. Therefore, it is worth taking appropriate treatment at an early stage of the disease. This can prevent it from developing, as well as unsightly scars and discoloration.
Acne lesions require dermatological consultation. Delaying the introduction of effective treatments and self-healing acne, such as cosmetics from pharmacies, can lead to complications.
How is acne treated?
The method for treating acne depends primarily on its severity. Treatment requires regularity, persistence, and proper skin care, even after that.
For mild acne, treatment with topical preparations with antiseborrheic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties is sufficient.
Antibiotics, retinoids, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide are used topically. People with moderate to severe illness require general antibiotic or retinoid treatment.
Treatment for acne is aimed at eliminating or relieving symptoms and preventing complications, most notably scarring. Improvement after treatment does not guarantee that we will get rid of the disease once and for all. Sometimes changes can gradually return after stopping treatment.
How do I care for my skin during treatment?
The skin of people with acne has the characteristics of seborrheic or combination skin. Proper care is an essential element in the fight against disease. Wash your skin twice a day using products that are suitable for that skin. The products used should not cause excessive dryness of the skin, which increases sebum production and intensifies acne formation. For makeup, you should choose cosmetics that do not clog pores.
Acne skin needs to be moisturized, but not lubricated. During treatment, it is beneficial to use cosmetics specially formulated for seborrheic skin. Young girls during puberty should not use oily and bold creams. I have patients who have developed the so-called Cosmetic acne associated with the use of oily creams that clog the sebaceous glands.
There are also pimples that develop, for example, after staying in warm countries called acne in Mallorca.
This is the effect of intensive use of high filter creams. Girls on vacation in warm countries use greasy creams, and when they return from vacation, they have the first symptoms of acne. Prevention is pretty straightforward here. You need to swap out creams for ones that don’t clog your pores.
Teenage girls with healthy skin should not use oily or bold creams. Their skin may appear dry, due to the hormonal storm, the sebaceous hair follicles are clogged, but if their hair is oily, it means that the body is producing enough sebum. When such skin becomes oily, we will induce additional sebum production.
Why can’t you squeeze pimples yourself?
Kneading or squeezing acne, papules or pustules increases local inflammation, increases the risk of secondary superinfection, and can lead to lesions spreading and unsightly scarring and discoloration.
To cleanse your face from acne, you should use the services of an experienced beautician or beautician who will properly remove acne. Treatments must be tailored to the condition of the skin.
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