Acne: Causes and Treatments

When we hear the word acne we may think of infomercials featuring people with bad cases of zits, or pustulous teenagers on TV exacting revenge on bullies. Pre-teens would crack jokes at these characters, not knowing that within a few years acne would hit them too. Bad. In fact, many men and women live with acne into their 20s and a few into adulthood.

Most of us have suffered from acne. We all know someone dealing with it, whether a cousin in his mid-20s or a mother with postpartum acne. Some men and women endure years of embarrassment and self-consciousness due to it. We visit dermatologists when we have breakouts, seeking answers to fluctuating hormones and unpredictable skin. It happens to everyone, both men and women, in the UAE and abroad. In fact, MedicalNewsToday says approximately 17 million Americans will have acne at any given time. It’s no different in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

What is acne?

MNT refers to acne as a skin disease where hair follicles are blocked by a combination of skin cells, hair, bacteria and sebum, which results in pimples. When pimples don’t receive treatment they can lead to permanent scarring and a lot of discomfort. Acne is the most common reason for visits to dermatologists and can appear anywhere on the body, though it’s most common on the face.

What causes acne?

Acne is not about washing your face more or eating less chocolate. That would be an easy fix. In fact, acne manifests differently for each person, and there is no black and white answer for its causes. Some people get acne because of over active sebaceous glands that clog follicles with sebum, a mixture of skin and hair oils. In the UAE summer heat this can go into overdrive and lead to increased inflammation when combined with dust, sweat and trapped bacteria. Teens and pre-teens deal with it as their hormones change during puberty, and women during menstruation. Friction on the skin, extreme temperatures or our genetic makeup can also cause acne. While visiting a dermatologist can help figure out your individual causes, there are selected ingredients and treatments that have been developed to fight acne.

What are the best treatments for acne?

Dermatologists recommend using retinoids to clear acne. It helps unplug blocked pores while also fighting aging. Jan Marini has created such products to smooth uneven skin and get rid of acne lesions with ingredients such as retinol. Dermalogica has other treatments to prevent and clear adult acne, while SkinMedica has developed products sensitive to acne-prone skin. Other Jan Marini products contain ingredients based on alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid, which exfoliate the skin’s surface and reduce the depth of acne scarring. Glycolic acid is found in some sugar crops and is known for its excellent resurfacing properties, used often as a chemical peel in skin treatments.

 

Penelope DoMundo

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