WHAT IS ACNE?
Acne is a condition of sebaceous glands that starts with the formation of blackheads and later develops into inflammation.
Sebaceous glands are in the skin and secrete sebum, which helps to keep the skin moist and elastic. When the sebaceous glands secrete excessively, their ducts become clogged. Sebum, together with skin cells and bacteria, accumulates in the deeper skin segments, which irritates the skin and leads to inflammation that causes the formation of pimples and acne.
Acne most commonly appears in the time of puberty, when the secretion of hormones is enlarged and sebaceous glands are more active. Acne affects parts of the body with higher number of sebaceous glands – face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders.
Acne can affect people of all ages and both sexes. The female sex hormones slightly hinder the formation of acne, whereas the male sex hormones stimulate it, therefore adolescent boys have more problems with acne. With sexual maturity, when hormone activity slows down, acne usually disappears. It can re-emerge with women in their forties, because the formation of female sex hormones begins to decrease at that time.
WHAT TYPES OF ACNE DO WE KNOW?
We know different types of acne, based on the age of the affected person, form of inflammation and cause. Classic teenage acne (acne vulgaris) can be mild, practically without inflammation (comedones), but it can also develop into a systemic condition, where the affected person has severe acne with pus as well as increased body temperature, painful joints and increased parameters of inflammation in the blood test (acne fulminans). We also know acne with new-borns and babies, acne in adulthood, acne caused by external factors, medications and so on.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Several people with greasy skin have shinier skin on areas with more sebaceous glands and slightly increased pores. The changes are most obvious on the face between eyebrows, on the nose and around it as well as on the chin, but this is still a healthy skin.
Condition becomes pathological, when the increased secretion of sebum is joined by inflammation. Apart from acne, the most common condition is seborrhoeic dermatitis, but very common is also rosacea, which is not directly connected with an increased secretion of sebum.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?
Some of the important factors, which improve the skin condition, are correct skin care and appropriate diet. Experience show that the acne condition aggravates if we eat pork, dried meat and strong spices, whereas clinical studies connect the formation of acne with consumption of food with high glycaemic index, such as white sugar, white flour and cow’s milk.
We have to avoid the factors that aggravate the acne condition. For many people, stress is also the cause for aggravated acne. Stress causes secretion of several hormones, which affect different phases in the development of acne as well as directly affect the function of sebaceous gland cells. Working with mineral oils, chlorine, tar, and wearing helmet can aggravate the acne condition for people who are prone to acne.
When it comes to severe forms of acne, the doctor prescribes systematic treatment.