Studies have shown that acne skin disease is on the rise. In fact, more than 80% of us have suffered from acne-related skin problems at some point in our lives. That ratio is increasing at a worrying pace, especially among teenagers.
Acne breakouts are, for sure, frustrating and they are not easy to get rid of. However, there are many proven effective ways to get rid of and prevent the occurrence of the disease with advanced treatments and home remedies.
Though, before we get into the main subject of our article, we need to educate ourselves about what acne really is, what are the types of the disease and what really causes acne development in the body. Awareness is key when it comes to skin treatments so you fully tackle whatever is causing skin abnormality, and prevent any complications resulting from wrong treatments and remedies.
What is Acne?
Acne is a type of long-term skin disease that occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. It is mainly characterized by pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, oily skin, and abnormal scars on the skin. Commonly, it affects skin areas that have a high number of oil glands such as the face and the upper part of the chest. Worth to mention that this is a mild stage of the disease and can be treated and cured effectively. If left untreated, it can cause major complications such as chronic inflammations and the eruption of full-blown acne, as the sebaceous glands are producing more sebum than in other skin types.
Needless to say that acne appearance can lead to low self-esteem, insecurities, anxiety and, in extreme cases, depression. Especially, among teenagers.
The Causes of Acne
Mainly, there are 4 common acne causes. Excessive discharges of sebaceous, bacterial infections, abnormal follicular keratosis, and excessive androgen discharges.
In this section, we will be covering the main reasons that cause acne to develop so we can apply the proper treatment.
Our endocrine system consists of 8 major glands. Any Endocrine disorder will get some, or all, of those glands to behave differently. And this will eventually lead to increased androgen in the body, which can increase the process of sebum discharge and block skin pores. Finally, this will appear on the skin in the form of acne.
Stress and emotional instability
Stress and emotional instability are some of the main reasons for endocrine disorders. Feeling stressed and pressurized constantly can lead to acne development on the face, especially the forehead.
Excessive sebaceous gland discharges
Simply, the skin will continuously secrete grease that will lead to the accumulation of oil in the skin’s pores, forming acne and blackheads. This is the most common way to cause pores clogging and dry skin in our bodies.
Cosmetics and skincare products may contain ingredients that will cause acne to appear on the skin. For your reference, Some of those ingredients are CETYL ALCOHOL, LANOLIN, and PETROLATUM. These are high moisturizing ingredients that alleviate skin dryness so you have to be careful before applying a new skincare product on your skin.
One more thing, unthorough makeup removals can cause all sorts of problems to the skin, especially if you use makeup on your skin when there was already makeup leftover from before. Usually, makeup and skincare products have a significant large molecular weight and cannot be absorbed by the skin at all. So when they’re not properly removed, makeup will cause clogging of the pores and this will eventually be the reason why acne is formed on the skin.
Digestive system problems
If you have chronic constipation or diarrhea, or if you are suffering from an ulcer in the stomach, this can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body as it is not flushing waste normally. These toxins will produce acne around the mouth or on the cheeks. And if not quickly taken care of, the digestive system problem will lead to constant acne growth and formation over and over again.
With the sudden rise of humidity, the sebaceous gland discharging function will have a short-term disorder and will cause acne during that time. If it is handled properly, it will naturally disappear after a few days. But, if it is mishandled, acne will be re-appear as a repeated pattern.
On the other hand, seasonal change may also be a sudden drop in temperature, which can have a major effect on the skin’s metabolism, causing skin dryness and acne.
Genes are also a strong possibility behind the causes of acne development in the body. If both parents have oily skins by nature, and at some point in their lives, they suffered from acne, then it is highly likely that their children will suffer from acne as well.
Types of Acne
Acne is divided into several types according to its severity, mild types can be easily eliminated quickly. But, the more severe the case is, the more time treatment will take. So without further ado, we need to identify which type of acne we have before the treatment process, in order to efficiently get rid of it.
It often appears on the face, whitehead acne is the size of a grain of rice. It slightly pops up from the skin forming a white mass on top. Whitehead acne belongs to the non-inflammatory acne family and, generally, it can be cured in a very short time. Although, part of the whitehead acne may naturally oxidize and transform into blackhead acne, which is an inflammatory type of the disease that will be covering below.
Blackhead acne is simply a block of hardened grease accumulated from bacteria at the surface of the skin resulted from skin dirtiness. Blackheads are also caused by the excessive discharge of sebum and the remains of destroyed cells. These primary blackhead acne causes, all lead to the same result. Which is, low moisture and a weak ability to lock water in the body. Added to external factors such as dust, dirt, and oxidation, this will lead to the blackening of the parts that come in contact with the air.
Papules are those painful red pimples and swelling on the skin. They appear when there is a lack of skin hydration and moisture, leading to skin pores blockage due to an excessive oily discharge from the sebaceous glands and inflammation.
Pustules are the evolution of papules when left untreated. Sometimes, pustules appear as white-pointed pimples that can be pinched with a clean needle to squeeze out that white fluid, though it is not recommended to do that unless under medical supervision from your doctor. Other times, pustules may have a yellow-headed appearance accompanied by redness of the skin.
When papules are not treated properly, papules and pustules can co-exist together. Usually, this type will leave more visible scars on the skin.
This type is a severe form of acne, usually located deep in the skin on both cheeks. It is significantly larger than other types of acne, breaking out from the skin in the form of rounded light and dark red colors. It is considered to be one of the most painful types, as it is rooted deep in the skin and muscles. Also, nodular acne is known for leaving a scar whether it is squeezed or not.
Cystic acne is even more serious and more painful than nodular acne. However, they both share the same characteristics, but cystic acne is much more severe to a point that it can affect our daily life.
More often than not, cystic acne will leave a scar.
This is a natural evolution of nodular acne when it is left untreated, or even when it is slowly treated.
Polymerized acne is the combination of 2 types of acne on your skin, damaging the skin to a great extent. Usually, these types of acne need to be treated as fast as possible or else, they will cause all sorts of unwanted skin complications.
Cosmetic surgeries for acne
With the advancement of medical technologies, acne treatments are constantly advancing. Besides medicine and drug treatments, many patients now are using cosmetic treatments to get rid of acne. Although cosmetic surgeries are costly, they stand out for being a very efficient and fast method to get rid of the disease.
Here are the most common cosmetic surgeries for acne.
Fruit acid peel
Fruit acid peel is a powerful therapy that can improve the overall health of the skin by enhancing its metabolism and by getting rid of all the dead cells on the surface of the skin. This will lead to clearing all the gaps and pores of the epidermal cells, shortening the cells aging cycle, and ultimately. a healthier skin.
Red light and Blue light
Red light plays a very important role in removing acne scars. With a wavelength of about 640 nm, red light passes through the skin tissue to act on deep fibrous cells. It enhances the collagen production in the body and speeds up the process of new skin generation.
The blue light acts on the surface of the skin to get rid of bacterias that metabolize carbohydrates. It is an anti-inflammatory approach that can restrain excessive sebaceous grease discharges in the body.
The red light blue light treatment is powerful and effective in changing the skin’s tissues structure, cleaning the skin from bacterias, and providing a suitable environment for new cells to develop and grow.
Microneedling is a procedure that uses small needles to prick the skin to reach the muscles and eliminate acne inflammation through bioactive sterilizing ingredients. It can also generate collagen in the body, remove acne-related scars, and brighten the skin.
How to avoid acne?
Obviously, acne is a very troubling and frustrating disease. It is related to several factors as we covered above, those factors can be dealt with by changing and enhancing your lifestyle for the better. Changes such as your diet, for example, can show tremendous results in no time and eventually prevent this disease.
Avoid sugar-rich foods
Food that is high in sugar will increase insulin in the body, leading to an increase of sebum discharge and excessive keratosis which will cause the outbreak of acne on the skin.
Eat less high-calorie, high-oil, low-fiber foods
Food that is high in calories and oil, and food that is low in healthy fibers, will cause chronic inflammatory reactions in the stomach and the body. This will lead to constant constipation and acne appearance of acne right after.
Consume fewer dairy products
Proteins found in milk and dairy products increase the IGF-1 in the body. IGF-1 stands for insulin-like growth factor and it is responsible for elevating oil and grease discharges to the skin. On top of that, dairy products are full of carbohydrates that lead to increased acne appearance on the skin.
Avoid high GI diet
GI diet will cause an exponential rise in blood sugar since it only depends on eating carbohydrate-containing foods. Eventually, the diet will increase insulin production in the body, as well as increasing sebaceous gland discharge, which is one of the main causes of acne development.
Examples of common GI diet foods are bread, white rice, noodles, jam, processed canned fruits, raisins, potato chips, and sugar-rich foods.
Avoid spicy food
Spicy food should also be avoided as they can easily lead to exuberant sebum secretion and develop some serious types of acne.
It is known that peanuts are healthy as they are rich in anti-oxidants, and it is true. However, peanuts also contain arachidonic acid, which is converted into pro-inflammatory substances in the body. So, if you suffer from acne, it is highly advised to stay away from peanuts until you are fully recovered.
Rest, hydrate, and maintain a stress-free lifestyle
Stress, sleep disorders, ultraviolet rays, and endocrine disorders are among the main causes of acne development. When the stress level is too high in the body, it will motivate the adrenal gland to secrete male hormones and cortisol excessively, leading to the formation of acne. Also, the imbalance of oil and water in the body will cause the disease to appear, so it is recommended to drink more water and get proper sleeping time as it releases pressure and reliefs stress.
Healthy and effective foods to prevent acne development
In this section, we will be covering some foods that can help us in reducing the likelihood of acne appearance and development on the skin.
Omega 3 rich foods
Grease is still a nutrient that the body needs on a daily basis, so the source of grease intake can be moderately controlled and replaced by foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon. tuna, and sardines. Omega 3 can also be found in flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Both options can effectively regulate endocrine and improve inflammation effects.
Vitamin A, C, and B
It helps in enhancing skin regeneration and acne healing. Vitamin A can be found in foods such as carrots, spinach, eggplants, cabbage, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and apples.
Effectively responsible for curing damaged skin cells and has a very positive effect on getting rid of acne-related complications such as spots and scars left on the skin. Vitamin C rich foods include tomatoes, kiwi, and cauliflowers.
As for vitamin B, it is responsible for enhancing the body’s metabolism. Lack of vitamin B will lead to fat secretion abnormality, thus, increasing the chance of acne. Foods that contain vitamin B include pork, brown rice, cereal, and beans.
Zinc mineral enhances our immunity system and improves its function. Also, it facilitates the natural metabolism and sebaceous gland functions to flow smoothly in the body without causing any issues and complications that lead to acne formation. You can get your zinc intake from oyster, clams, and whole grains.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which can reduce inflammation and excessive sebum production. In addition to that, applying green tea extracts directly on your skin can do wonders in relieving the pain resulted from the acne.
Do not over-clean
This may sound weird to many, but excessive cleansing will get the sebaceous gland to continue discharging oil to carry out its protective function, which will lead to even more oily skin. Just wash your face twice, or maximum 3 times a day.
Do not use a scrub and astringent water
Scrubbing the infected area will only make the inflammation worse. As for the astringent water, it will shrink the pores, making the small clogged opening in the skin, even smaller.
Do not smoke
Nicotine in cigarettes shrinks the wall of the microvessels, causing toxins accumulation in the blood and lymph. And ultimately reduces the oxygen ratio in the body and the skin. This will eventually weaken the overall healing ability of the cells and will easily cause acne formation.
Do not pick your acne
It is not advised to pick your acne with your hand or a tool as it may cause infections from bacteria on the hand and this will leave a scar for a long time, it may take up to 6 weeks before it completely heals again.
Acne, Blackhead, Pimple, etc.
Some anti-acne products say that it will cure the disease overnight, is that possible?
When it comes to inflammation control, yes it is possible. But generally, treatments take about 3 months before it is fully cured. In fact, you will not be seeing any progress before a full month of treatment, then it will gradually start healing. It is very necessary to complete the full treatment so you 100% get rid of the disease.
Why do I keep on getting acne?
The main cause of the acne disease is that the sebaceous gland keeps on discharging too much oil constantly. And at the same time, it stimulates excessive keratinization of hair follicles, producing an enormous number of dead skin cells. So, dead skin cells surrounded by a large amount of grease will end up clogging the pores and suffocating the skin, then causing acne to develop. This is mainly associated with age, hormone levels in the body, season changes, diet, and emotional distress. All of this can be adjusted by changing your diet and lifestyle, you can also use anti-inflammatory skincare products to help to prevent and to reduce the occurrence of the disease.
Can I wash and rub the acne on my skin?
First of all, Acne should be fully cured before thinking of rubbing your skin. A major cause of acne appearance is that body cleaning isn’t properly done, causing skin pores to get clogged. So, for prevention sake, you can wash and rub your skin properly just to make sure you don’t develop the disease. But, if you are already suffering from acne and skin abnormality, we do not recommend using exfoliated products as it can do more harm than good.
Why can’t I eat foods with high GI?
Foods with a high GI lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels in the body. This will increase insulin levels and thus, this will raise the sebaceous gland secretion which is the main cause behind acne development and formation
Is tea tree oil useful for acne patients?
The tea tree oil is germicidal and anti-bacterial. The germicidal effect of the tea tree oil comes from the component “terpinene-4-alcohol” which is also the key point for the quality and the price of the oil. the higher the content of the terpinene-4-alcohol, the higher the purity of the oil is, and the more expensive it becomes.
Is there any side effect from the red light – blue light acne treatment?
Treatment’s light source does not emit heat, does not contain ultraviolet rays, and does not produce pigmentation. Moreover, the wavelength and the depth of action of the red and blue light therapy are very accurate. Red and blue light, also known as an LED lamp, is a man-made light source that depends on purity and power to irradiate the skin and help cells grow normally.
Generally speaking, this is a normal operation to get rid of acne while not damaging the skin whatsoever.