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Acne is a common skin condition found in both males and females and causes the hair follicle filled with oil, grease and dead skin cells. Acne can be in the form of whiteheads, blackheads or pimples, cysts, pustules etc. It can affect any part of the body, such as the face, scalp, back, arms, shoulders, chest etc. Most people are prone to acne from ages 14-28 years, but can affect people of other age groups as well. There are various treatments available for acne but it can recur based on the underlying cause. Pimples occur when your skin’s oil glands are overactive and pores become inflamed. Acne may cause depression due to low self esteem and social anxiety. Therefore, it is better if it is treated in the early stages.

Major causes

-Junk Food -Stress -Oily Skin -External Triggers like pollution, dust -Excess sebum production -Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells -Bacterial infections -Hormonal imbalance

Symptoms

-Pus-filled boils -Redness -Itchiness -Mild pain -Bumps -Whiteheads (closed plugged pores) -Blackheads (open plugged pores) -Small red, tender bumps (papules) -Pimples (pustules) -Solid Lump under the skin (nodules) -Pus-filled lump under the skin (cystic lesions) A doctor must be consulted for proper diagnosis and treatment. The dermatologist will mostly recommend medications and some treatment depending on the severity of the condition. Acne is more common in women than in men and can stay for decades. Some of them may experience breakouts right before their menstrual period as a part of Premenstrual Syndrome. Acne, at times, can indicate another underlying disease or condition and may call for immediate attention. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that various non-prescription acne lotions, cleansers and cosmetic products from reputed brands can also have major side effects.

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Common Acne types

-Blackheads are pores filled with excess oil and dead skin cells. They are open at the surface of the skin.. -Whiteheads are closed and have pus inside. Popping whiteheads can worsen the condition. They are caused due to blockage of the hair follicles by oil and skin cells. -Papules are another acne type that forms red bumps on the skin. They are sensitive to touch and cause inflammation. Papules are usually found in people with severe acne. -Cysts & Nodules are large bumps that have to be treated by a dermatologist only. OTC medicines can worsen the condition.

Treatment

Treatment for acne includes following an acne specific skincare routine, staying hydrated, eating healthy, gels/creams/cleansers and prescription medicines as advised by Doctor. It is recommended to not poke acne with unclean hands, as it can make the condition worse.Acne is more likely to appear on the face, forehead, chest, neck & back as these areas produce maximum sebum.

The factors that may worsen acne are:

-Rising levels of Androgen hormones are responsible for causing acne, especially in teenagers. They increase the pores of sebaceous glands and increase sebum production. Any changes in the hormones due to pregnancy or consumption of oral contraceptives can increase sebum production which may also cause Acne. -Consumption of drugs that have corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium. These medications are harmful in the long term as well and have other side effects. -There are various researches that state high intake of lactose, fats and carbohydrates will worsen acne. Even Chocolate is often bad for acne. -Stress is definitely one of the contributing factors that can make acne worse. Negative vibes and stressful environment affect hormones in the body and result in acne.

Quick facts about acne

-Acne is not dangerous, but the scars can remain for months. -3 out of 4 people are affected by it. -Treatment depends on the underlying cause. -The risk factors are genetics, stress, cosmetic products. -It can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Prevention

-Wash face at least 1-2 times a day -Eat a healthy and balanced diet -Exercise everyday -Understand the right treatment for the skin type -Drink plenty of water and other fluids -Moisturize and cleanse skin -Remove & clean makeup -Don't touch the face with unclean hands -Avoid exposure to the sun -Don't pop the pimples and pustules -Use tea-tree oil -Avoid oily foods -Don't stress

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