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Acne Vulgaris

Acne Vulgaris

Acne is one of the commonest medical conditions in the world. It occurs in about 90% of teenagers to some degree but unfortunately also continues well into adult life in some people, particularly women. Acne is a condition which affects the areas of the skin where the sebaceous glands are most numerous, that is the face, back and chest.
There are two main type of acne lesion:

  • comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and
  • inflamed lesions which are red (papules) or may contain pus (pustules).

People with acne are feel self conscious, have lower self esteem or even be depressed.

What causes acne?

Sometimes people that have acne may have inherited a tendency to it from one or both parents. Acne usually starts around puberty when the normal oil producing glands in the skin become more active in response to the normal rise in levels of hormones. The microcomedone, which is the primary lesion to develop because of blocking of pores, is an acne spot waiting to happen: using a treatment that stops blocked pores is a very important (and sometimes neglected) part of acne treatment.
A bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes (P acnes) is also very involved in the development of inflamed red spots in people with acne. This bacterium is carried by almost everyone. Treatments that control the amount of P acnes on the skin are very helpful.
The final stage in acne is inflammation, in other words redness, soreness and swelling caused by the body’s immune cells surrounding the hair follicle.

Acne Myths

There are several ACNE MYTHS saying that it is caused by bad diet, hygiene or impure blood.

What treatments are available?

To treat acne effectively it is important to understand the causes of acne then individualize the treatment according to patients need.
The Treatment is basically divided

  1. Topical Creams
  2. Oral Antibiotics
  3. Oral Isotretinoin
  4. Laser

Women with acne may find that certain types of combined oral contraceptive pill can have a very beneficial effect, but it is extremely important to choose contraception carefully as some forms can make acne much worse. Oral antibiotics can be highly effective (producing 80% improvements), but need to be chosen carefully and used in combination with other treatments to give the best results.
The most effective tablet treatment for acne is isotretinoin, which usually completely clears acne within 4-6 months.Oral isotretinoin is a strong treatment and needs to be discussed carefully, but can produce excellent results.