What’s Acne? Acne, most commonly referred to as pimples, is the worst nightmare for those too unfortunate to suffer. It’s the commonest skin disease today. In United States alone, nearly 60 million people are infected with acne, where 85 per cent of teenagers suffer from it. Acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones on the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands), which results in plugged pores and outbreaks of lesions commonly called pimples or zits. Acne lesions usually occur on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Acne can involve mild to severe outbreaks of pimples and cysts on the face and sometimes on the back, shoulders and chest. Here are several acne terms that can enable you to better understand acne. Comedos are simply a plugged and enlarged hair follicle. When a comedo is open, it’s usually called a blackhead. When it’s closed or deep into the skin, it’s usually called whitehead. The whitehead differs in color from the blackhead because the opening of the plugged sebaceous follicle to the skin’s surface is closed or very narrow, in contrast to the distended follicular opening of the blackhead. Neither blackheads nor whiteheads must be squeezed or picked open, unless extracted by a dermatologist under sterile conditions. Tissue injured by squeezing or picking can become infected by staphylococci, streptococci and other skin bacteria. Cysts are lumps under the skin that have pus and other tissue in them, and they are often red, swollen and sore – but they don’t come to a head like pimples do. Cysts can cause scarring and blotchy, uneven skin colour.
Acne Tips It is very important that teenagers and their parents know that the care that they provide to their skin cannot stop pimples from coming completely, and that if the acne may be very bad, skin care is not prone to make any difference. There is also a lot of mis-details about skin care. Washing the face should only be done once or twice a day, with a mild soap. The skin should not be scrubbed. Washing hair: the forehead may be oilier than other parts of the face, and have more pimples. The hair just above the forehead is also often oily. Oily hair probably doesn’t cause acne on the forehead to be worse. Washing the hair often (resembling daily) could make the hair look better, but may don’t have any effect on the acne. If their forehead has plenty of acne, teenagers will want to cover it with their hair. This probably won’t make the acne worse, and could be helpful in improving the way in which they feel about their face. Pimples shouldn’t be squeezed, as this may damage the lining of the pore and the sebum and bacteria can get into the skin around the pimple, causing more inflammation (redness, swelling and pus). However most teenagers cannot resist trying to squeeze out pus or a blackhead. In the event that they need to, be certain they know that they should have clean hands, and only squeeze very gently. If the pus or blackhead doesn’t come out easily, it’s not ready to come out. Exposing the face to just a little sunlight, not enough to cause any skin damage, may help a little. Avoiding cosmetics and sunscreens that are oil based may be worth trying. There are numerous products on the market ‘over the counter’ at pharmacies, or in supermarkets, that are claimed to scale back or get rid of acne. A few of these may help. A lot of them work by increasing the speed of production of cells lining the ducts and cells of the skin of the face. This could unblock the pores, or make them less likely to block.Cheap products could also be as helpful as dearer ones. Some make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, so sun screen should also be used. If the product causes the skin to become very red or sore, stop using the product.