Thursday, 19 April 2018 07:18

The causes and cures to Acne

Written by Uttam Kumar

By Dr. Uttam Kumar, Specialist – Dermatology at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi


Know what it is?

When some people say acne, what they're really referring to is a few hormonal spots found on their body. But as medically diagnosed, acne is a very common chronic disorder affecting the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin that results in clogged pores and inflammation. Usually these lesions can appear on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. It's ongoing, painful, sometimes embarrassing for the individual and it can be very difficult to get under control.

Who gets it?

Research has found that nearly 85% of adolescents and young adults between 12 to 24 years old develop acne (according to the World Health Organisation). Most people no longer have acne by the time that they reach their 30’s, but unfortunately some people continue to have acne when they’re older.

What causes acne?

Acne results from several factors such as genetic, hormonal changes, bacteria, stress and occasionally, food intake. And when it comes to the Middle East, we live in a region that is often hot and dusty; this leads us to stay indoors and put the air conditioning on full blast. In other words, we are in the perfect environment to develop acne. Nonetheless, one of the main factors that leads to acne is high hormone levels. Androgens is a male sex hormone, which increases in both young men and women during puberty which may lead to the clogging of pores. There is colonisation of bacteria called propionibactrium acnes which causes inflammation and acne formation.

Things to look out for?

·         Hormonal profile should be done preferably from second to fifth day of menstrual cycle.

·         Hormonal changes related to pregnancy

·         Hormonal changes caused by birth control pills

·         Stress, especially severe and prolonged emotional tension – everyday life.

·         Certain drugs

·         Greasy make-up

·         Environment irritants such as pollution and high humidity – which are ripe in the desert environment of the UAE

·         Food with high glycaemic index and dairy products.

How is acne treated?

Dermatologists usually recommend treatments to prevent scars, and early treatment is key. Depending on the level of acne, your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug, creams or even pills that must be taken in.

For more severe cases there are ways to treat acne scars such as strong creams, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing and rejuvenation, among others.

Tips to avoid or reduce acne?

·                     It is essential to gently clean your skin. Scrubbing the skin will not prevent acne. It can even make the problem worse.

·                     Squeezing, pinching, or picking pimples often cause dark spots which are harder to get rid of.

·                     Carefully shave as in-grown hair can cause inflammation, redness, swelling and sometimes scarring.

·                     Stay out of the sun: many acne medicines can make people more likely to be susceptible to sunburn.

·                     Choose your make-up carefully. All makeup should be oil-free. In the label, look for the word “non-comedogenic”, which means that the makeup will not clog your pores.

·                     Shampoo your hair regularly. If your hair is oily, you may want to shampoo daily.

Ultimately, by following the above steps, you can do your best to ward off acne. In the hot and dusty environment of the UAE, looking after your skin is more important than ever, and with just a few simple changes, your skin should be glowing.