Acne. What is it? Who gets it? What causes it?

Acne. So common and so frustrating. For some, it lasts a few months or maybe a year but for others, they suffer for a very long time. Even using the right skin care products doesn’t completely rid the skin of this issue because oftentimes, it is hormonal. This is where medications come in and why doctors are so quick to prescribe. They can clear the skin and make the patient feel so much better. Unfortunately, there are side effects to that. Becoming well informed is the best option. Find out what works for you and your skin. Everyone is different.

What is It?

Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples or “zits.” This includes whiteheads, blackheads, and red, inflammed patches of skin (such as cysts).

Who Gets It?

Acne commonly starts during puberty between the ages of 10 and 13 and tends to be worse in people with oily skin. Teenage acne usually lasts for five to 10 years (I highlight this because so many expect it to go away as soon as they start on a regular skin care regimen), normally going away during the early 20s. It occurs in both sexes, although teenage boys tend to have the most severe cases (I am convinced that this is because they are less likely to take care of their skin properly). Just when you think you are safe from acne… Women are more likely than men to have mild to moderate forms into their 30s and beyond.

The simple truth is that heredity (blame your parents!) and hormones are behind most forms of acne.

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Causes?

Hormones– It is common in teenagers because of their increase in hormones. It is also why some women get it when they are pregnant or on birth control. When this is the cause, it makes it much more difficult to control. As an Esthetician, I can’t fix this but the skin can improve and we can get to a point where the breakouts are manageable.

Bacteria– Excess oil clogs the pores and it is here where the bacteria grows. This makes blackheads or whiteheads form on the skin’s surface. Sometimes, this clogging causes the follicle wall to break under the pressure of this buildup. When this happens, sebum leaks into nearby tissues and forms a pustule or a papule — this is called inflammatory acne. Larger, tender pustules are called nodules.

Tomorrow- How to Improve Your Skin

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What is this on my face??

Maybe it’s a pimple but could it be a whitehead? Do you know the difference? Most people don’t so I’m going to clear it up for you. If you have a weak stomach and don’t like to read about different types of pimples, don’t keep reading! 🙂

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Blackheads– These are formed when oil and dead skin are clogged in a pore and then when exposed to air, it oxidizes and turns to black.

Whiteheads– Probably the most misunderstood but they look like small, white hard bumps. Another name for these is “milia”. They are normally found under the eyes but can be anywhere on the face. Stubborn and difficult to remove but hydration and exfoliation is usually key.

Pimples (papules)- Pimples are pink to slightly red bumps with a soft white surface filled with fluid and oil.

Large Pimples (pustules)- When pimples become large, engorged, and swollen, a papule has become a pustule.

Cysts and Nodules (deep, painful pimples)- Cysts and nodules are the largest, most painful, and most difficult type of acne to treat. A cyst does not always look like a pimple; it can be just a large red swollen lump. If left untreated, they almost always lead to scarring because the cysts are in the deeper layers of the skin.

Hopefully this helped clear some things up for you.

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