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Poll: Did you get Acne in your life?
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Don't remember / What is Acne???
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Acne: Yes it hurts, but there are cures!
#1
Exclamation 
Acne vulgaris, or just Acne, is a fairly common, but a painful and often stressful disease, which is faced by most of the 'young ones' (especially adolescents). Owing to its affect on 'the face' of a person, it not only causes the pain associated with the disease, but also leads to anxiety, stress, lowered self-esteem or even suicides (in extreme cases). This article has thus been initiated to provide information about the disease from causes to cure, apart from being a platform for discussions related to Acne.

[Image: 230px-Akne-jugend.jpg]
An indicative image of Acne (courtesy: wikimedia)


 |  NOTE  |
If you voted No to the poll above (i.e you never got any acne in life), then congratulations for having some out of the world genetic make-up! Because, almost every individual on this earth has once/many a times in life, suffered from Acne in one form or the other!

What exactly Acne is?
Acne (or pimples) are result of the blockage of the hair follicles (pores in the human skin: can be observed through a magnifying glass), which are actually connected to oil glands (sebaceous glands) located underneath the skin. An oily liquid, called sebum, is produced by these glands. Apart from hairs growing out of the follicle, sebum carries out the dead skin cells on the surface. It's when these follicles get blocked that a pimple/acne develops (leading to an accumulation of sebum under the skin). Bacteria tend to grow/infect the blocked follicles filled with keratin and lipid making the condition even worse.
[Image: 515_Acne_formation.jpg]
Events leading to Acne (courtesy: wikimedia)



Types of Acne
Often people live with the ignorance that "those red-rashy-puss filled" bumps on the face are typical acne! But the truth is that Acne are of various types; and in fact, some of the most common beauty loop-holes associated with face 'are actually acne' only. Even Blackheads and  whiteheads are also two types of Acne!
Following are the various types of acne:
a) Blackheads
b) Whiteheads
c) Papules & Pustules
d) Back Acne
e) Acne conglobata

Blackheads
Blackheads are one of the most common types of Acne faced by innumerable people across the globe.  Also called as open comedones, blackheads are created out of plugging of the hair follicle and subsequent pushing of the sebum through to the surface. This oil/sebum turns black in color, upon exposure to the air, and buildup of melanin-skin’s dark pigment.
Blackheads are mostly caused to those people whose skin poduces excess of oil.
Quote:It's thus a huge myth that blackheads are caused by dirt, the truth is that they are Acne; and are a result of oxidation of the oil pushed out of plugged follicles & buildup of melanin.
[Image: blackhead.jpg]
Source:http://www.acneskincare.tips/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/blackhead.jpg

Whiteheads
White heads are also amongst the most common type of Acne that affect almost everyone (once or manytimes in life). Also called as closed comedones, whiteheads appear on one's skin in the form of a white/creamy bump. As you must have understood from the name (closed comedones), whiteheads appear when the clogged sebum is not exposed to the air and remains trapped in the plugged follicle.
   
A typical whitehead

[Image: acne.gif]
http://oliviajenkins.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/acne.gif

Papules and Pustules
Papules and pustules are painful/inflammatory forms of acne, which develop when the walls of the clogged pores end up breaking out of severity/irritation.

Papules appear as closed, red small bumps surrounded by skin inflammation on the face of a person. Unlike blackheads they reveal no visible pores, neither are they white like whiteheads.  They are hard/beady when you touch them.
   
Example of papules
(Source:www.aad.org)
Pustules are actually those typical pimples that scar one's face. They are severe form of papules. These are mid-sized bumps on the face with marked white-yellow dot (pus/fluid) in the center of it. Inflammation is also associated with them.
   
Example of pustules
(Source:www.aad.org)

Back Acne
Our back possesses a large number of oil and sweat glands. Back acne thus appear when the follicles leading to the surface for oil secretions get blocked. Puberty is often considered to be the active age for back acne with augmented symptoms in early twenties. Back acne aren't common in adults (post 20 years), though they can appear in some cases.
Trapping of heat/sweat in the body; and aberrations to skin due to friction are also known to cause back acne.
[Image: How-to-Get-Rid-of-Back-Acne-1.jpg]
A typical case of back-acne

Acne conglobata (AC)
Acne conglobata (AC) is the most severe form of acne. It is highly severe, but it is rare. But when it happens, it can affect your chest, buttocks, back, shoulders, thighs, upper arms  and even your face.

AC is characterized by burrowing and interconnecting abscesses on affected region with irregular scars (both keloidal and atrophic). It is highly inflammatory (hence painful) and also leads to significant disfigurement of the region. Cysts and nodules are formed (comedones), with foul smelling seropurulent material. They have the tendency to reappear even after drainage of the material from cysts.

A sudden deterioration of existing active papules/pustules; or recrudescence of acne dormant for many years can cause AC.

[Image: 1048885-1072716-2320tn.jpg]
Nodules and Pustules in AC
(Source: http://img.medscape.com/pi/emed/ckb/derm...2320tn.jpg)

How to Avoid Acne? Tips for Skin Care
Acne has a genetic influence, but it is often triggered by following environmental stresses:
  • Oily skin products like moisturizers/cosmetics can cause acne, so choose the cosmetics carefully.
  • Oils/Fats/Grease encountered in kitchen/work.
  • Pressure equipment like Sports helmets that are too tight. Tight clothes can also cause acne.
  • Pollution and high humidity are also major contributors.
  • Avoid sun-tan/sun-burns.
  • Squeezing should be avoided.
  • Avoid hard scrubbing of skin.
  • Avoid Anxiety/Stress! (a single major contributor to all major diseases!!)



Article Under Update

Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (BiotechStudents.com)
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC


Suggested Reads:
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#2
Hi Sunil,

My teenage daughter has some questions for you ..

- How Should People With Acne Care for Their Skin?
- What Research Is Being Conducted on Acne?
- How can I help prevent acne and acne scars .. do antibiotics worsen acne?
#3

ACNE CARE and TREATMENT

Hi Greg,

I will update the article pertaining to your queries as well. For now, here are the answers as per my knowledge:

How Should People With Acne Care for Their Skin? And how to prevent?
Avoid these conditions:
  1. Oily skn products like moisturizers/cosmetics can cause acne, so choose the cosmetics carefully.
  2. Oils/Fats/Grease encountered in kitchen/work.
  3. Pressure equipments like Sports helmets that are too tight. Tight clothes can also cause acne.
  4. Pollution and high humidity are also major contributors.
  5. Avoid suntan/sunburns.
  6. Squeezing should be avoided.
  7. Avoid hard scrubbing of skin.
  8. Avoid Stress! (a singal major contributor to all major diseases!!)

Use following treatments for Acne affected skin:
OTC (over the counter) topical medicines (gels, lotions, creams, soaps, or pads) for mild acne include (i) Benzoyl peroxide, which helps in reducing oil production (ii) Resorcinol, effective against whiteheads and blackheads
(iii). Salicylic acid also helps in fighting whiteheads and blackheads (iv) Sulfur based ointments are also common for counteracting whiteheads and blackheads.

Oral medication of Antibiotics and Vitamin A (and derivatives) are often prescribed for moderate to severe inflammations in acne.

Affect of Antibiotics
Practically, antibiotics are supposed to be bactericidal or atleast slow the growth of bacteria. This helps in reducing inflammation. But some people might get side-effects like gastric problems, dizziness, lightheadedness, skin color changes, and/or increased susceptilbility to sunburns.

Hope it helps
Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (BiotechStudents.com)
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC


Suggested Reads:
Top Biotech Companies | Top places to work
Indian Biotech Companies and Job Openings
Aiming a PhD in Top Grad School? | These are the Important Points to Consider
Careers in Biotechnology | A list of various Options
Biotechnology Competitive Exams in India
#4
Acne affecting teenagers always seems to cause distress. I remember when I was growing up I hated going out when I had acne (or pimples as they were better known in my school) on my face. I always made an excuse as to why I could not meet up with my friends, but thankfully they became fewer and fewer as I got older until they eventually went. Hence there is hope and now unlike then, there is more research into treatment options, from topical therapies with benzoyl peroxide to antibiotics if required.

Maureen
  




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