What is Acne Vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris is a common skin problem. It is known by its symptoms, areas of skin with seborrhea (scaly, red skin), comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), papules (pinheads), pustules (pimples), nodules (large papules), and possible scarring. Acne typically invades areas with a high density of follicles- including the face, upper chest, and the back. Severe acne is typically inflammatory, but many types of acne can also appear in noninflammatory forms.
While acne most typically plagues teenagers, anyone of any age can get acne – even babies. Acne is a systematic breakdown in the pores’ natural process. The pores of all skin contain two elements – a hair follicle and an oil gland. Oil is secreted in this pore to help keep the face clean. It absorbs dirt, dead skin, and other impurities. When you wipe away this oil, you wipe away the impurities and dead skin along with it. Thereby, you have clean, fresh skin on your face.
Acne occurs when the system breaks down. The oil is overproduced, the pore doesn’t allow for the oil to escape, or a combination of the two results in a blemish. It can be any type of blemish – comedone, papule, pustule, or nodule. If inflammation accompanies the blemish, you can also get seborrhea. However it presents itself, acne is no fun for the recipient.
Acne can appear as just a few stray pimples, as a full-fledged body breakout, or anywhere in-between. Acne can lessen over time or as you get older, but it can also get worse. There seems to be no “by the book” form of acne, as each individual case is different.
What Causes Acne Vulgaris?
If you’re not sure exactly what is acne vulgaris, do an Internet search for acne vulgaris pictures. You will instantly see hundreds of pictures of the different manifestations of acne vulgaris. You will be able to discern right away whether your bright red blemish is acne or something else entirely. If you’re still not sure, you should probably see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can help you to correctly identify your condition, and if appropriate, offer different acne vulgaris treatment options.
Did you see any of the 50’s shows, where unsuspecting teens were told to avoid greasy foods to prevent those nasty facial bumps? Boy, were they wrong! Research has now found that there is no link between eating french fries and having your face look like a connect-the-dots picture. Let’s take a look at what scientists have nailed down for possible causes of acne outbreaks:
- Heredity. Get out your parents’ yearbooks, and see if their faces were clear. If they weren’t, it’s likely that you will face acne problems. Although the exact gene hasn’t been located, it is widely believed that acne is passed down in the gene pool just like eye color and the family nose. There’s not much you can do about it, except lament your parents’ genes. Of course, it wasn’t their fault, either!
- Hormonal changes. That’s right, teens! Your changing hormones are likely culprits for those nasty outbreaks. This is why acne is seen more in teenagers than adults. Those raging hormones cause oil secretion to skyrocket, which leads to higher probability that blockages will occur. This is also why we see baby acne. Babies have lingering hormones from their mother while in utero. These lingering hormones can stay in baby’s system for up to 3 months, causing that sweet baby face to have tiny little breakouts. No worries, though. As baby eliminates mom’s hormones, that acne will clear up.
- Stress. Stress triggers oil production, so unmanaged stress increases the chances of having a nasty acne flare up. Keep reading to see how managing stress can help to keep your face clear.
- Hair products or makeup. Your cosmetics could be causing your acne flare ups! Products that contain oils in them could clog up those pores, especially around the hairline.
- Certain medications. Some of the medications you take could be causing acne flare ups. Drugs that treat depression, epileptic seizures, thyroid problems, and bipolar disease can cause acne to flare up. This is NOT a reason to discontinue use of prescription medication that your doctor has deemed necessary for you. If you are having trouble with acne flare ups, visit your doctor to discuss possible solutions.
- High levels of humidity (sweating). When you sweat, you send your pores into overdrive. The oil mixes in with sweat, and although this is a great way to cleanse your face, if you don’t wipe that sweat away, it will settle back down into your pores, causing breakouts.
How to Treat Acne
There are several ways you can treat acne, and it will depend on your individual case, dedication to eliminating acne, and how much acne is interfering with your daily life. For lighter cases of acne, here are a few suggestions:
1. Keep your face clean. Washing your face in the morning and at night will go a long way to eliminating break outs. Dust, dirt, grime, air pollution, and sweat accumulate on your face, and washing it off is a great way to keep your face clean.
2. Use a gentle cleanser. You don’t want an abrasive cleanser on your face. Choose a gentle, non-oily cleanser to keep your face clean.
3. Sweat. Sweating is a great way to eliminate impurities from your pores. Exercise helps to promote hormonal balance in your body, too. As long as you take a shower after exercising, working up a sweat is a great way to keep your face clear.
4. Get some Benzoyl Peroxide. You can find this in over the counter cleansers. It’s a great way to keep your face clean and clear.
What is Acne Vulgaris keeping you from?
If your case of acne is more severe, or if you feel like it plays a bigger part in your life than it should, you might want to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists can analyze your skin and help you to find the right kind of treatment for you.