The dreaded ‘A’ word – acne. One word that could cause anyone fear and anxiety with the havoc it could wreak on your skin. However, can simply labeling any skin condition that vaguely resembles what we know to be acne, be acne?
Initially occurring in hormonal teenagers with a likelihood of continuing onto post pubescence, acne is caused by the pores of the skin becoming blocked by hair follicles, naturally occurring oils like sebum as well as dead skin cells. These blockages cause the formation of whiteheads, blackheads, and other forms of pimples to develop. When the dead skin cells are trapped inside the pore, bacteria that thrives in such environments rapidly multiply, possibly leaving skin reddened and tender.
In some cases, infection sets in, and the resulting inflammation causes angry-looking papules, pustules, nodules, or painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin known as cystic lesions to develop. Another type of acne is fungal acne which develops when a surfeit of yeast develops in the hair follicles resulting in itchiness and inflammation.
As with most skin conditions, the degree of severity varies from person to person and a multitude of factors including hormones, stress and reactions to certain medication or particular food groups can trigger or worsen acne.
Since the skin is the largest organ on the human body, acne is not limited to just the face. The appearance of pimples and pustules could dot the chest, upper back and shoulders of acne sufferers as well.
While most forms of acne can be effectively kept under control with the right treatment and professional help, acne that stubbornly refuses to respond to different types and forms of medication and treatment could actually be masking other lesser-known skin conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Perioral Dermatitis (burning or itchy skin around the nose or mouth region).
With such uncertainties, getting a medical professional like a dermatologist could prove to be helpful in identifying between acne and other indistinguishable health concerns. They would also be able to recognize and identify problem areas before recommending the appropriate treatment required.