Acne is an inflammatory disease that causes the appearance of pimples or blackheads on the skin. These develop when the hair follicles under the skin are covered or closed by so-called black spots and / or pimples. Although they occur mainly on the face and forehead, they can also form on different parts of the body, such as the chest, upper back and shoulders.
Acne can occur at any age but 80% of those affected are adolescents between 13 and 18 years. Although acne is normal, it is possible that it develops in an exaggerated way and is associated with a skin condition. Although acne is not a serious health problem, it can produce emotional distress and leave scars. It is important to note that currently there are very effective treatments to control this problem.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT AGAINST ACNE?
The main treatment base for the treatment of active acne is based on reducing the production of skin fat, increasing cell turnover, reducing inflammation and combating bacterial infections that may occur. The type of drug to be used will depend on the age of the patient and the type of acne present. The medicines can have a topical use, that is to say, they apply creams for the skin and, in some cases, it will be necessary to combine them with oral pills. It is important to keep in mind that pregnant women may experience an increase in the appearance of acne during the nine months, but they can not take oral medications to treat this problem, as they can cause problems during pregnancy.
In addition, acne can leave scars on the skin. These scars, can be divided into three categories:
- Atrophic scars
- Hypertrophic scars
- Keloid scars
To eliminate these scars can resort to treatments such as peeling, radiofrequency or fractional laser.
WHO CAN SUFFER FROM ACNE?
The cause of acne is due to an abnormal production of sebum (hyperseborrhea) or a hyperkeratosis, or the formation of a plug in the upper part of the follicle, which makes it difficult to eliminate sebum and promotes the appearance of blackheads. The whites (called comedones), or may be due to a bacterial inflammation of the follicles.
All people affected in some way by this aesthetic problem can be evaluated by specialized doctors, without age limitations or special contraindications. As mentioned above, patients will be mainly adolescents, but in many cases, even adults. It is important to emphasize that the treatment can begin soon, that is, before serious lesions or sequels and permanent signs appear on the skin. For this reason, we recommend that patients consult a specialist on time and perform frequent checks to follow the case, even after initiating the treatment process.
Acne can appear for the following reasons:
- Hormonal changes
- Follow a bad diet
- Use incorrect creams and products
- Certain medications
- Excess hair
- Touch the affected areas with dirty hands.
- Drink alcohol
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE FIRST CONSULTATION?
The doctor will evaluate the patient, collect information about your medical history and determine the root cause of the problem. Next, it will examine which areas of the body are affected and determine whether the inflammation is associated or not. Finally, it will evaluate if the injuries are mild, moderate or intense.
Once the doctor has determined the seriousness of the problem, he will decide what treatment the patient should follow. This may involve the use of topical creams or it may be done in combination with an oral medication.
It is important to keep in mind that the doctor will usually also take into account the emotional impact that acne can have on the patient. In fact, when this problem is serious, it can cause social isolation and low self-esteem . The doctor must evaluate the patient’s feelings . That is, when this problem is severe it can cause social isolation and low self-esteem. So in some cases, it will be important and necessary to recommend psychological care to help the patient feel better about himself. Therefore, it is important that the patient be truthful about their feelings.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO AVOID ACNE
Below, we will detail some general recommendations for patients suffering from acne and who are following a therapeutic treatment:
- Wash your face with neutral soap once or twice a day
- Avoid irritants suchas antibacterial soaps or abrasive soaps, pads soaked in alcohol and frequent friction
- The cosmetics used should not be made from an oily base, since oily products can aggravate acne
- It is recommended to maintain a balanced diet.
In addition, in the case of women, specialists recommend following these guidelines when it comes to makeup:
- Wash your brushes correctlyat least once a week
- Clean yourmakeup sponge and change it often
- Comb before applying makeup
- Avoid makeup that contains fragrances
HOW IS THE ANTI-ACNE TREATMENT PERFORMED?
Topical medications applied to the skin and used for acne care include:
- Retinoids and medicines similar to retinoids:when administered in cream or gel, these are derivatives of vitamin A. Initially, they are applied up to three times a day, and successively only once a day. Its main function is not to obstruct the hair follicles.
- Antibiotics: kills excess bacteria in the skin and reduces redness. They can be combined with retinoids and are usually applied in the morning and at night.
- Salicylic acid and azelaic acid:They have antibiotic properties. Creams containing 20% azelaic acid appear to be as effective as many conventional acne treatments, particularly when used twice a day for approximately 4 weeks.
- Dapsone:this medicine is especially recommended for inflammatory acne in adult women. It can be applied twice a day.
- Combined oral contraceptives:For the treatment of acne in women who want to use this method of contraception, the Food and Drug Administration has approved four combined oral contraceptives. The effect of these medications takes a few months to appear.
- Antiandrogen Agents:The medicine spironolactone decreases acne since it blocks the effect of the androgenic hormones of the sebaceous glands, especially in adolescent women.
- Isotretinoin:Isotretinoin is a very potent medication used when acne does not respond to other treatments. Although it is very effective, its side effects should be monitored very closely by the doctor. It can cause depression, gastric disorders or abnormalities in pregnancy. Female patients should use two contraceptive methods when taking this medicine.
Although there are several reasons that cause this problem on the skin, the treatments that currently exist are very effective in controlling each of these factors that cause acne. In general, acne caused in adolescents is reduced spontaneously between 20 and 25 years of age, but young people who received treatment during adolescence will have a better appearance of the skin.
It is important to bear in mind that the results of the treatment begin to be noticed after 4-8 weeks and it is possible that in some cases the skin initially worsens and then begins to improve progressively. In many cases, the patient must continue the treatment for months, even years, because the problem disappears in its entirety. To carry out the treatment successfully, therefore, it will be necessary for the patient to arm himself with perseverance and patience.
Another aspect to take into account in the evaluation of the results is that the patient will also improve their self-esteem , as well as the symptoms of anxiety and depression that could be associated with the discomfort experienced. Therefore, the treatment of acne will represent an important change in the life of the person who follows it.
How many sessions will I need to eliminate acne?
It depends on the extent of the problem and the type of method used.
Can the marks left by acne be eliminated?
Acne scars can be treated with different technologies and, preferably, with synergistic protocols: peeling, plasma treatments, Plexer, radiofrequency, laser. Several treatments are required, performed at regular intervals to allow the skin to regenerate.
Can I follow a pharmacological therapy during pregnancy and lactation?
Virtually all drugs used to cure acne are contraindicated. You should contact a reference dermatologist.
I take the contraceptive pill to regulate acne. When will I see the first results?
Improvements with the pill are after at least 3-4 months of use.
What nutrition to follow to not promote acne?
A diet with a low glycemic index, avoiding simple carbohydrates (pasta and white bread, sweets, alcohol), reducing milk and dairy products and saturated fats.
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