Acne is not considered a serious health problem, but can cause embarrassment and in some cases – even damage to skin. Acne develops due to a number of factors, like a build-up of dead skin cells, extensive sebum production and bacterial overgrowth. When these factors become stronger, so does acne. Climate and weather conditions also account for acne related problems, especially among a lot of people in Chennai. Under normal conditions, skin cells do not build up and the sebum is secreted to the surface of the skin. Special conditions can promote an increase in keratinization thereby resulting in buildup of skin cells in the follicle which can block the secretion of sebum that causes a plug to be created, that is known as a blackhead or a whitehead – a mild form of acne. Blackheads are small, black holes on the surface of the skin. Whiteheads, in contrast, usually appear as small, skin-colored bumps under the surface. Acne usually starts to occur in puberty and some women can get more acne at the beginning of menstruation, due to increased production of sebum because of the hormones, known as androgens. When more sebum is produced in blocked pores, follicle becomes inflamed. It can also be caused by bacterial overgrowth. This creates a papule – red, elevated bump on the skin. Follicle may eventually rupture, spilling its contents into the skin layers below, which leads to forming of pustules. If inflammation becomes even more severe, nodules and cysts can develop.
Prescription medications are often required to resolve acne. Popular acne treatment for moderate cases is benzoyl peroxide and it’s available freely in a variety of strengths and formulas. It works by limiting the bacteria that contributes to acne. Usually, cosmetic surgeons use benzoyl peroxide, combined with antibiotics. Antibiotics are a standard approach in dealing with acne. Clindamycin is used topically to treat moderate to severe acne and some may require Oral Antibiotics. Treatment may start with a high dosage and gradually decrease as your acne improves, taking several months. Oral contraceptives are effective in treating acne in women. Topical retinoids may be needed to prevent the formation of new whiteheads and blackhead but can only be used for the most severe cases of nodulocystic acne. Oral retinoids may be required in severe and recurrent cases but has to be avoided during pregnancy as it may cause birth defects. Some patients with acne benefit from Salicylic Acid peels to reduce inflammation and improve post inflammatory pigmentation. Fraxel and Carbondioxinde laser or Fractional Radiofrequency is required to improve pigmentation and scars. Deep scars may be treated by filling the craters with Hyaluronic acid fillers. Thus the treatment of acne needs to be tailored to every Individual depending on the need and the patient needs to understand the need for long term maintenance program’s to prevent recurrence.