What is Acne?
Acne (or muhase in hindi) is a common skin problem! The science is, when your skin’s hair follicles get locked up with dirt, skin’s natural oil and dead skin cells, acne appears disrupting the smoothness of your skin! Which is why keeping your skin healthy is a must!
Sadly, it doesn’t stop there; acne can cause further whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, etc.
✔ Not just your face, acne or muhase can appear on your chest, upper back and shoulders too.
✔ Acne spares no one! It affects people of all ages, but most common among teenagers during puberty.
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What Causes Acne (or muhase)?
Acne or muhase is not normal! It’s the skin’s way of telling you that something’s changing or going wrong! Understanding what causes your acne, is the first step to treating it @CureSkin.
Acne is a reaction to either an internal situation or external conditions; sometimes both.
Internal Causes of Acne or muhase
Heredity: Genetics matter
✔ If your parents and grandparents had it, your body remembers and you may get it too!
✔ Conditions like PCOS trigger the oil glands to produce more sebum, leading to acne outbreaks.
✔ Menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc. can make acne appear or flare up.
✔ When your hormones are imbalanced due to such conditions, the oil glands start producing more sebum. Excess sebum along with the presence of acne-causing bacteria blocks your pores and creates inflammatory acne.
External Causes of Acne/muhase
✔ When you’re stressed, the male hormone in your body rises up, which in turn will make your skin secrete more sebum, leading to acne or muhase.
✔ Some of your medicines may contain steroids, bromides and iodides and this can bring upon acne or worsen existing acne.
✔ If you are taking anticonvulsant drugs, oral contraceptive pills or medicines for disorders like PCOS, it makes your skin acne-prone.
✔ Eating certain processed, sugary, greasy foods or dairy items can also lead to an acne
✔ Some cosmetics contain chemicals that can clog the pores and restrict skin from breathing properly which leads to acne/muhase.
✔ Some may destroy the epidermal layer of the skin, leading to irritation and acne.
Dirt and pollution
✔ The minute we step out of our home, our skin gets exposed to dirt and pollution.
✔ The dust and dirt block the pores, while the gases and chemicals also inflame them. This combination leads to acne.
Acne (muhase): Signs and Symptoms
How acne looks like depends on its severity, common ones are:
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples (pustules)
- Large, solid, painful lumps under the skin’s surface (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin’s surface (cystic lesions)
Types of Acne/muhase
Some types of acne are inflammatory while some are not. Most of us may present with a particular type of acne, although in most cases, multiple types of acne lesions can be seen in one person. Here are the 6 main types of acne:
Blackheads/ Open Comedones
Here the pores become clogged and appear as small bumps accumulating dead skin cells and excess sebum. The top of these bumps remains open, which is why it looks black as it is exposed to air.
Whiteheads/ Closed Comedones
They are formed for the same reasons as blackheads, clogged pores due to the collection of dead skin cells, and skin secretions. The only difference is the surface of these bumps are closed, which is why they appear white or skinlike.
Papules are larger than comedones and are formed when the pore is completely clogged and surrounding walls break down. Inflammation can be seen often and they appear pinkish.
Here the surrounding walls of the pores break down due to inflammation and infection. Pustules are filled with pus, can be painful and are usually larger than comedones. They look like a red/ tender bump with a whitish or yellow head.
When the clogged pores start to grow bigger and deeper, it becomes a nodule causing pain and irritation. They are much tougher to treat as they have affected deeper layers of your skin.
Here the infection spreads deeper into the skin than nodules and contains bacteria along with dead skin cells and sebum. These are extremely painful to touch. Cysts are the most severe form of acne and can lead to severe scarring, especially if left untreated.
How To Treat Acne/muhase: Medical Methods
Here are some of the most commonly used methods of treating acne or muhase:
✔ If your acne has just started, dermatologist prescribed topical lotions, creams and perhaps a few antibiotics can cure them.
✔ You can order your Acne Treatment Kit given by an expert dermatologist from CureSkin. Download App.
✔ Chemical peels are used to remove the outer layer of the skin, which is usually the dead skin layer.
✔ Now, the new layers of skin start to develop again and this skin will be much healthier and fresher looking.
✔ This technique helps with the generation of new cells by flushing out all the dead pores using specialised equipment, making the skin glow and making it look clear and clean.
✔ Whether you have uneven skin tone, age spots or acne, microdermabrasion is the way to go.
✔ A laser device is used to vaporise the outer layer of the skin, killing the bacteria which can lead to acne, revealing healthy new skin, that lies just beneath.
Acne Prevention: How To Avoid Acne or muhase
- Wash your face twice a day, once in the morning, once at night, with a suitable cleanser or face wash.
- Do not scrub your face harshly. Avoid physical exfoliators and harsh scrubs. This will only make things worse.
- Protect your face with a sunscreen (preferably SPF30 if you have active acne) before going out in the sun.
- Never pop, squeeze or pick at acne as this may worsen the inflammation and lead to scarring.
- Avoid using makeup or skin care products that contain harsh chemicals. Look for the term non-comedogenic on the label of each product and avoid cosmetics with fragrances.
- Keep your scalp and hair clean. Excess oil from the scalp can lead to acne around your hairline.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated as it will flush out toxins from your skin and body which may cause acne.
- Reduce intake of dairy foods (especially skimmed milk) or foods high in sugar or carbohydrate content. These are known to cause acne flare ups.
- Change your pillowcases every week or as soon as they get dirty.
- Reduce Stress. Stress is known to cause inflammation and cause breakouts. Relieve stress with the help of meditation, music and sleep.
Diet tips to follow if you’re acne-prone.
What to include in your diet-
Green leafy vegetables-
✔ Adding greens such as broccoli, spinach, kale, cucumber, cauliflower, peas, etc is not just good for your overall health, but will also help to keep your skin healthy and clear.
✔ They contain essential vitamins and antioxidants which help calm down inflammation and boost your skin’s natural defences.
What it solves:
✔ Clogged pores
✔ After eating sweet potatoes, your body will convert beta-carotene present in it into vitamin A.
✔ Vitamin A acts as a skin barrier against discolouration, inflammation, and clogged pores often brought on by free radicals.
What it solves:
✔ Pumpkin softens skin and restores pH balance.
✔ Zinc present in pumpkin regulates the amount of oil production in your skin.
What it solves:
✔ Rough skin
✔ Berries like strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants.
✔ It helps circulate your blood clearing out patchy skin, while the antioxidants prevent the dark spots in the first place.
What it solves:
✔ Dark spots
✔ Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and peanuts regulate blood sugar levels preventing acne flare-ups.
What it solves:
✔ Acne outbreaks
Plant-based dairy alternatives
✔ Coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk are few alternatives to processed or skimmed milk that can be incorporated into your diet for healthy skin.
What not to include in your Acne diet-
Skimmed milk and dairy products
✔ Intake of excess amounts of skimmed milk has been shown to be related to acne flare and breakouts.
✔ Instead switch to plant-based alternatives mentioned above.
Sweets and Sugary food items
✔ High glycemic foods can stimulate the production of certain hormones in our body which in turn can increase oil/sebum secretion.
✔These include fast foods, frozen food items, meal bars, etc.
✔These not only contain more than required amounts of glucose, but also unnecessary fats and excess salt. All of these can contribute to excess sebum secretion and unhealthy skin.
Facing Acne Problems? We Can Help!
Each skin is unique, so there is no one-solution-fits-all acne treatment! One of our dermatologists, Dr Jisha Gomez suggests that one must get acne treated as early as possible to avoid and prevent formation of scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
To clear out your acne, you need to understand what caused it in the first place. It could have been caused by your hormonal fluctuations, diet changes, lifestyle, hereditary or others.
If you’ve tried enough, but nothing works, you need to take this to a dermatologist as early as possible!
Get a customised treatment kit for your acne from the best dermatologist.
When to See a Dermatologist?
✔ Tried various home remedies or OTC(over the counter) creams but acne persists. Stop experimenting, consult an expert dermatologist as early as possible to avoid scarring or pigmentation.
✔ Have severe acne? Or frequent breakouts? Avoid home-remedies or self-medicating. Seek medical treatment from a dermatologist, who specializes in correctly diagnosing skin conditions and treating them accurately based on evidence-based medicine.
✔ For many women, acne flare-ups can be commonly seen a week before menstruation. If mild, it tends to clear up without treatment. If it does persist, it is best to consult an expert dermatologist who will check your hormones and guide you with a suitable treatment.
✔ In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may signal an underlying disease requiring medical attention. Do not delay a quick dermatology consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why do I get pimples/Acne?
You can get Acne or pimples due to many reasons including internal and external factors. Most common factors include hormonal imbalance, unhealthy diet, hereditary, stress, pollution, and bad lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking.
Does smoking cause Acne?
Smoking is harmful and affects our body and skin. It causes various diseases and not just Acne. Smoking increases sebum production in the skin. Sebum is the oily substance found in pores and when it’s blocked, this causes the formation of non-inflamed blackheads (Open comedones). This is also sometimes referred to as Smoker’s Acne.
Does the intake of greasy, oily foods cause breakouts? Does the diet contribute to acne?
A healthy diet and adequate hydration are essential to keep your body and skin happy and healthy. However, greasy foods or oily foods may not directly contribute to acne breakouts. If you are someone with acne-prone skin, you may want to cut down on food items with high sugar content and skimmed milk/dairy products.
What are the best Acne treatments and solutions?
There is no one-solution-fits-all sort of treatment for Acne. Acne treatment depends on its cause, your age, your gender, your lifestyle, your skin type and much more. It is best to seek a dermatologist’s advice for Acne treatment.
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What are whiteheads, how to cure whiteheads?
Whiteheads are formed when blocked pores stay closed under the skin and form small white bumps. To get rid of whiteheads, talk to the best dermatologists – Download CureSkin App.
Is Puberty a cause of Acne?
Hormonal imbalance during puberty can result in Acne too, but it may not be the only reason. If Acne is happening beyond the usual teenage years, it is crucial to get this checked for any other underlying reasons such as thyroid, PCOS etc.
Does dirt on the skin cause Acne?
It is not the dirt; it is the Acne-causing bacteria on the dirt that causes Acne. Maintaining clean skin keeps the bacterial population in check. Also, too much cleaning and scrubbing leave scratches and microtears on your skin which would only make your Acne worse.
Does Acne go away on its own?
Maybe, maybe not! Commonly, Acne worsens when left on its own and not treated. It can eventually become an inflammatory one that leads to infection and scarring. It is best to seek dermatologist’s advice for Acne treatment at the earliest.
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Get Acne treatment Kit from an Expert Dermatologist Online
Does popping out pimples help?
No! Never squeeze or pop out a pimple. Though it gives you sudden riddance from the pus-filled pimple look but leaves behind Acne scars which are even tougher to get rid of. Also, by squeezing out the pimple, you are more likely pushing pus deeper into your skin and spreading the infection to nearby pores.
Does Steam help get rid of Acne?
Steam helps open up your pores in general, but when it comes to Acne, high temperature and humidity provide better breeding grounds for the bacteria on your skin and the opened pores act as receptors to these which in turn worsens your Acne
Does drying out the Acne in the sun help?
No! Sun does not dry out your Acne On the contrary, it reduces the immunity of the skin and causes damage to your skin. This leads to pigmentation and premature skin ageing such as the early appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Are Rosacea and acne the same?
No! Rosacea and acne are two different skin conditions. Although Rosacea may look similar to acne, blackheads and whiteheads are not present or seen in rosacea. Usually, rosacea present with pimples, along with redness, flushing and the presence of superficial blood vessels (Telangiectasia)
Can I wear makeup if I have acne?
It is best to avoid makeup products or cosmetics products on a daily basis. The best first advice is to get your acne treated. However, if you wish to use makeup products, look for the term non-comedogenic on the label of the product and avoid products that are too oily. Also, avoid cosmetics with too much fragrance as this will only irritate your skin further.