What is Acne Vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris, also known as acne is a skin condition that occurs when overactive oil glands and dead cells clog the skin’s pores resulting in a breakout of pimples. When germs enter the pores, redness, swelling and pus often develops. It can affect anyone but is very common amongst teenagers and young adults but usually disappears when they reach their twenties. However, some adults in their 20’s and 30’s and older can develop acne. Many women often experience an acne outbreak before the onset of their menstrual cycle or while they are pregnant due to hormonal changes, but this goes away when it is completed.
There are different forms of acne and these include whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules or cysts. A whitehead is characterized by a pimple that remains under the surface of the skin. A blackhead can be distinguished by its colour black and is a pimple that rises to the surface of the skin. Papules are small, pink bumps that are sometimes tender while pustules are red at the bottom with a pus-like substance on the top. Nodules are large, painful pimples embedded deep within the skin. Cysts are deep, painful pimples filled with pus that leave scars.
The most common parts of the body that are affected by acne include the forehead, face, neck, chest, shoulders and back. Acne that is left untreated can cause serious blemishes and scarring as well as lead to more psychological issues such as poor self esteem, shyness, social phobia, loneliness, anxiety or depression.
What Causes Acne Vulgaris?
Several factors may contribute to the cause of acne vulgaris. These factors include genetics, hormonal changes, infections and certain medications such a birth control pills, steroids or anti convulsant drugs. Skin cosmetics or environmental conditions such as environmental toxicity or humidity may also increase the risk of a breakout of acne.
Diagnosing Acne Vulgaris
The diagnosis of acne vulgaris is based on an examination of the skin and affected areas. Samples of the skin may be taken to test for any evidence of bacteria.
Help for Acne Vulgaris
In order to keep acne under control and prevent future breakouts, it is essential to follow a good skincare routine by washing your skin with warm water and mild cleansing products every morning and evening. Eliminating greasy and sugary foods from your diet and replacing them with fresh fruit, vegetables and plenty of water will also benefit the appearance of your skin.
A variety of over-the-counter products and topical medications such as lotions, creams and gels containing benzoyl peroxide or oral antibiotics are often used to treat mild to moderately severe acne. For more severe acne, oral medication such as Isotretinoin (Accutane) may be prescribed. It is important to note that these medications may have some serious side effects and you should discuss any concerns with your health practitioner.
Natural and holistic remedies are a safer, gentler yet effective treatment option to reduce acne without the harmful effects of synthetic chemicals often found in conventional medications. Carefully selected herbs such as Melaleuca Alterniflora (Tea Tree Oil), Azadirachta indica and Arctium lappa support the skin and contain anti-fungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Bulbine frutescence and Aspalathus linearis (rooibos) help to soothe and prevent skin infections, and also have excellent antioxidant properties – helping to fight free radicals and help discourage the signs of aging.