BENGALURU: Adolescence brings many changes – cracked voice, pimples and facial hair. But if you notice acne and think it will disappear, as a matter of course, it may lead to pain and infection.
It is not easy to know what is causing it, says Dr Praveen Rodrigues, Consultant Dermatologist,Vikram Hospital. “Acne is sadly a multifactorial disease and one does not know if hormonal factors caused by PCOD (poly-cystic ovarian disease) are at play or if it is caused by the use of some cosmetics,” he says. But don’t wait for the pustules to subside on their own.
“They may grow into larger nodules and cysts, and become painful. The earlier you visit your dermatologist, the better,” he says.
Who is affected?
It is the scourge of teenagers. Experts say that acne is very common among teenagers and younger adults, and over 60 per cent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will be affected by acne. This condition is most common between the ages of 14 and 17 in girls, and boys between 16 and 19. Acne often disappears reaches their mid-twenties.
Acne is most commonly linked to changes in hormone levels during puberty, but it can start at any age. It affects the grease-producing glands next to the hair follicles in the skin. Certain hormones cause these glands to produce larger amounts of oil (abnormal sebum).
This abnormal sebum changes the skin causing inflammation and pus. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, can also lead to episodes of acne in women. In some cases, external factors like dust and bacteria may worsen the condition.
Psychiatrists say that in some cases this condition may cause depression. “Working professionals and college-going students may be subject to negative comments. This plays on their mind and causes distress,” says Dr Chandrashekhar, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, Victoria Hospital.
Parents and friends should comfort them and help them understand that this condition can be cured and that it may pass with age.
What can you use
- Cleansers can be used to wash away dirt, grime, makeup. A good cleanser will also let other skin products reach your skin and work better. Choose gentle cleaners that won’t strip your skin.
- Retinoid creams or lotions can help clear your skin and also lessen wrinkles. Products made with sulphur can be good for the occasional spot treatment. Benzoyl peroxide is another acne fighter. Use benzoyl peroxide products only occasionally, because they can dry out your skin. You could also try a milder benzoyl peroxide product.
- Careful about cosmetics as some cosmetics include salicylic acid, which fights acne. In general, look for skin-care products that declare on the label that they are non-comedogenic (which means they don’t clog pores) or non-acnegenic (they don’t cause breakouts).
- Eating right, reducing milk and sugar can help. Say no to ice-creams and fatty fried foods. This may reduce the flare-ups, says Dr Jaidev Yadav N C, consultant dermatologist, Guna Skin and Laser Clinic.