What are the Causes of Acne - Pimples?
Acne occurs when hair follicles are clogged by dead skin cells. Hair follicles produce an oil called sebum. If this oil builds up in the clogged pore it becomes infected, and the hair follicle becomes inflamed. If the follicle bursts, the infected matter inside the pores spreads across the skin, infecting the surrounding area and creating new pimples.
Acne Vulgaris and Other Types of Acne
Acne vulgaris is the most common form of the condition. "Vulgaris" does not mean "vulgar;" it means "common." It affects approximately 90% of all adolescents, and 50% of adult women. Acne vulgaris is what most people think of when they think of spots and zits. It is a clogging of the hair follicles that leads to unsightly, and sometimes painful, skin lesions and pimples. It ranges in degree from mild to severe and, at its most severe, it can cause scarring.
Many other types of acne exist, however. They're listed below, along with definitions of the different types of pimples and skin lesions they cause:
Acne conglobata : A rare form that usually affects males, acne conglobata covers the back,chest, and buttocks with pustules and nodules, which often connect under the skin. Because of this tendency to connect, severe bacterial infection is possible, as well as extensive scarring. Medical attention is required.
Acne cosmetica : As the name implies, it is triggered by topical make-up. Characterized by small pink bumps, acne cosmetica is usually quite mild, with little chance of scarring.
Acne fulminans : A rare and extreme form of acne conglobata, acne fulminans almost always infects males. Symptoms include a sudden onset of pustules and nodules, infected nodules, fever, joint pain, and possible loss of weight or appetite. Acne fulminans is a serious condition and requires prompt medical attention.
Acne medicamentosa : It is caused by reactions to medicine or drugs. Women often experience acne medicamentosa when starting or ending birth control pills. Steroids and testosterone have also been implicated.
Acne rosacea : It is not true acne, but rather an inflammation of the face, neck or chest that results in red, bumpy, oily skin. Acne rosacea usually appears in people aged 30 to 60. It often begins as a short-term condition that can become chronic and cause facial scarring if not treated. Acne rosacea is often accompanied by acne vulgaris. For more info, click here ---> Acne rosacea treatment
Comedonal acne : Acne characterized by whiteheads and blackheads, without other forms of skin lesions.
Comedones : Enlarged, plugged hair follicles. If the comedone is under the skin, it's a whitehead. If it breaks the surface of the skin, it's a blackhead.
Cyst : Similar to a pustule, a cyst is an inflamed, pus-filled lesion that goes deep into the skin, and can cause pain and scarring.
Cystic acne : One of the most severe forms of acne, cystic acne occurs when the infected contents of a pustule or pimple erupts beneath the skin, rather than on the surface. The body's natural defenses then try to fight the infection, leading to swelling and pain. Cystic acne often causes facial scarring. While it usually occurs spontaneously, cystic acne can be caused by scratching and picking at pimples. Often accutane comes to rescue in this case.
Macule : A temporary red area that is the result of a healing lesions. When macules are massed in an area they make the skin look an angry red.
Nodule : These are large, solid and often painful skin lesions that are buried deep in the skin layers.
Papules : Small, tender pink bumps on the skin.
Pustules : Also called pimples, pustules are inflamed, pus-filled comedones, often red around their edges.
Prevention and Remedies for Acne
Acne prevention is a bit of a misnomer if it implies there's a cure. There isn't. Acne prevention actually means preventing outbreaks, and there's plenty you can do to avoid the recurring pimple. Outbreak prevention covers a wide range: from the day-to-day preventive measures you can take to the acne products and remedies on the market.
Follow a gentle approach. Wash gently, and dab your skin clean. You're trying to remove excess oil produced by your skin pores; scrubbing hard will actually force the oil and dead skin cells back into the pores. You can use the assorted acne products that clean the skin, but avoid those products that claim to dry out your skin. Your skin needs moisture and, without it, your pores just produce even more oil.
Avoid Hand-to-Hand Combat
It's so tempting to roll up your sleeves and take the battle to the pimple, squeezing it into submission. Trouble is, picking and squeezing zits often leads to more problems: you spread the infection over the surrounding area when the zit bursts, and you can even wind up with scarring. Best to avoid mixing it up with your little pustular foes (even if they are asking for it).
Acne Cure Products
All manner of products are on the market, some of them better than others. You should avoid anything too harsh or invasive (cheap blackhead extractors, for instance). Some treatments claim to work directly on the pimple, but the best products are the ones that treat the entire face. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendations.
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How to Get Rid of Zits Using Over the Counter Products
You've got 'em. You don't want 'em. So how to get rid of zits is the question. The advice on the Symptoms page works well, but what if you want to serve your acne an eviction notice as fast as possible?
Unfortunately, there's no cut and dried answer for how to get rid of zits. A product that leaves one person pimple-free may not have any effect on someone else. You may have to experiment before you find an over-the-counter product that works for you. Mild to moderate acne often responds well to nonprescription products. Severe acne is more likely to respond to prescription medications than nonprescription treatments.
A few cautions when using acne products
Avoid getting the product in your eyes, mouth or inside your nose (ouch!). Don't apply any product to an open wound (that includes any zits you picked at), sunburn or irritated skin. If you develop a rash, unpleasantly dry skin or other side effects, discontinue use and consult your doctor or dermatologist.