구월동피부과 Acne is a common skin condition that affects the face, chest, neck, shoulders and back. It causes blemishes, like blackheads and whiteheads, to form when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Acne usually gets better by your mid-twenties, but some people have persistent breakouts that lead to scarring. The good news is there are many treatment options to help reduce the appearance of these blemishes.
Each hair follicle (pore) in your skin contains an oil gland called the sebaceous gland. The gland produces sebum, which lubricates the hair and skin and helps them stay soft and smooth. When the gland becomes clogged, it causes an infection. If the clogged pore opens up near the surface of your skin, you get a red bump called a pimple. If the pore stays closed but is infected, you get a pus-filled bump called a papule. And if the pore stays deep under your skin, you may have a painful lump called a cyst.
The cause of acne isn’t known for sure, but it is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. The condition mainly occurs in teenagers, when hormone levels surge as they enter puberty, but it can also appear in adults. Fluctuations in the hormone testosterone are also thought to play a role. Women may experience hormone fluctuations during pregnancy and menopause that lead to acne outbreaks.
Other possible causes of the condition are the use of greasy or oily skin care products, tight clothing or headgear, and exposure to certain substances, such as pollution or cigarette smoke. Some studies have shown that dairy products and foods high in sugar can contribute to acne, but other research suggests that these don’t play a significant role. Sweat does not contribute to the development of the condition, but it can cause a buildup of bacteria that increases your risk for infection.
Acne occurs when oil glands (the sebaceous glands) near the surface of the skin get clogged with excess sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Acne causes spots on the skin that may be red and swollen, depending on the type and severity of acne. The most common areas for acne are the face, chest and back.
The sebaceous glands make an oily substance called sebum to lubricate hair and skin and keep them from drying out. When people with acne have excess sebum, it mixes with dead skin cells and creates a plug in the hair follicle. This causes inflammation and a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes to grow. The bacteria cause inflammation and pus that can form pimples.
Pimples include blackheads and whiteheads. Pimples that contain pus are called pustules and those without pus are called papules. Acne can also cause cysts and nodules that are deep under the skin and very painful. These are more serious forms of acne and can lead to scarring.
Doctors can usually diagnose acne based on your medical history and a physical exam. They may ask you about your family history of acne and if you use any medicines or skin products that can affect hormone levels. They will then look for signs of acne on your skin, including a red and swollen area that contains pus. They may also order blood tests to check your hormone levels.
Many forms of treatment are available for acne. The most effective treatments are not only those that reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, but also those that prevent or treat scarring. Treatments start with avoiding substances that make acne worse (such as facial scrubs, astringents and excessive scrubbing) and using water-based makeup instead of oil-based products. It is also important to resist the temptation to squeeze or pick at spots, which can lead to permanent scarring.
Some mild acne may be treated with over-the-counter cleansers, gels or lotions that contain salicylic acid or azelaic acid. These treatments help remove damaged skin cells and prevent your hair follicles from getting clogged. If these treatments do not improve your condition, talk to your doctor.
Moderate acne usually responds to oral antibiotics or a combination of an oral medication and a topical treatment. These include the tetracyclines (except in pregnant women) or erythromycin and clindamycin. Other antibiotics, such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) and doxycycline (Minocin), are also used. These should be used only for short periods to reduce the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.
Hormonal therapy helps some women with acne, especially if it occurs around the time of menstruation or is associated with a hormonal condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A GP can prescribe the combined oral contraceptive pill, even if you are not sexually active.
Acne isn’t a serious health problem, but it can be embarrassing and frustrating for people of all ages. It can also lead to scars, especially if it is left untreated. The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent or reduce breakouts, and many of them are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
Clean your skin at least twice a day with a gentle soap or face wash, and make sure to remove all of your makeup before you go to bed. Avoid scrubbing or overwashing — both of these can irritate the skin and clog pores, leading to acne. Wash your hair and scalp regularly, too, especially if it is oily. Choose non-comedogenic (non-acnegenic) skin care products and sunscreens. Avoid using greasy products that can clog pores, such as those with cocoa butter.
Avoid popping, picking or squeezing your pimples, as this can push infected material deeper into the skin and cause swelling and redness. It can also increase the likelihood of infection and scarring.
It may take a few weeks to a few months before you see a noticeable difference in your skin. Be patient and stick with your prevention regimen; switching to new treatments too often can irritate the skin and actually cause more breakouts. If you have tried all of the above and still can’t get your acne under control, see a dermatologist or doctor for further treatment options.