Acne Vulgaris

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. Through this article, we will talk about acne and different aspects such as causes, medical treatment and prevention tips.

What is Acne

In its broad meaning, acne is a skin condition that is characterized by pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, greasy skin, or sometimes even scarring on the face, upper part of the chest and the back. It occurs commonly during adolescence.

Causes of Acne

When the pores of our skin get clogged due to oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, it leads to acne. There are several reasons behind such a condition:

Source : Wikipedia

According to several studies, genetics has been considered to be one of the causes for nearly 80% of acne. Our susceptibility to acne is largely dependent on our genetic component. Hormonal changes during puberty (in both male and female), menstrual cycles, and pregnancy also contribute to formation of acne. Acne can also be caused due to excessive growth of the bacteria, which is normally present in our skin. Certain lifestyle related aspects have been found to increase the risks of acne, sometimes even worsening the condition. This includes excessive cigarette smoking, intake of high sugary/starchy diet, lack of personal hygiene, and excessive use of cosmetics. Stress and pollution are also believed to increase the severity of acne.

Classification and External Resources

  • Specialty : Dermatology
  • ICD-10 : L70.0
  • ICD-9-CM : 706.1
  • DiseasesDB : 10765
  • MedlinePlus : 000873
  • eMedicine : derm/2
  • Patient UK : Acne vulgaris
  • MeSH : D000152

Symptoms of Acne

Typical symptoms include increased oil secretion, swollen inflammations or lesions on the skin or deeper lumps or nodules and cysts. Scarring and pigmentation are other possible symptoms of acne.

Treatment on Acne

Effective treatment requires thorough diagnosis of acne. It is also important to differentiate acne from other skin disorders that may also look like its characteristic features such as pimples, pustules and nodules. The test procedure on acne for such differentiation takes into account several factors such as age, presence of whiteheads, and facial redness caused due to exposure to sunlight or certain food and medicine. Dermatologists commonly use the following three grading scales to categorize the type and severity of acne. 

  • Counting and categorizing lesions into inflammatory and non-inflammatory on a scale of 0–10.0
  • Using photographs to determine the degree of severity on a scale of 0-8
  • Classifying severity on a scale of 0-4 through simple physical examination

Several procedures and medications are available as part of treatment on acne to improve its appearance and prevent scarring. Benzoyl Peroxide, antibiotics, Salicylic acid, Azelaic Acid, topical and oral Retinoids are some commonly used medications. Birth control pills can also be useful for women.

Immediate, short term benefits may be possible with the help of some procedures such as light therapy, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, chemical peeling, and comedo extraction.

Precautions and Prevention of Acne

  • Avoiding fried & oily as well as processed food with high sugar content
  • Avoiding pricking or scratching pimples
  • Cleaning dirt, makeup, sweat and excess oil from face using anti-acne soap
  • Moisturizing the affected area
  • Using acne friendly (non-comedogenic)makeup 

These simple precautions may help us prevent the occurrence of acne and its severity.

How to Prevent Acne : Easy & Effective Tips