Acne Skin Disease
Pimples, whiteheads and blackheads occur as part of the skin condition known as acne. Although teens are most likely to experience acne skin eruptions, the condition can also affect adults, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Over-the-counter and prescription medications can be helpful in treating acne.
Clogged pores, excess oil, bacteria and inflammation all play a part in the development of acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. During the teenage years, production of sebum, an oil that keeps the skin moist, increases dramatically. Overproduction of the oil leads to clogged pores. When pores clog, bacteria normally found on the skin begin to grow in the clog, causing the inflammation that produces pimples, cysts, whiteheads and blackheads.
The type of acne that develops varies depending on the depth of the clog in the pore. If the blockage occurs close to the surface and the skin remains closed over the clog, a small white bump called a whitehead forms. Blackheads also develop due to clogs close to the surface of the skin. Because the blockage is open to the air, the surface of the clog darkens and takes on a black appearance. When the blockage is deeper, the skin becomes inflamed and a red pimple forms on the skin. Very deep blockages cause large, painful acne cysts.
Topical over-the-counter acne products can help clear up acne and prevent new pimples from forming. Look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide reduces swelling of the pimples and kills bacteria that can lead to acne, while salicylic acid causes skin on pimples to dry out and peel away, according to The Nemours Foundation.
If over-the-counter medications aren’t effective in treating your acne, your doctor can prescribe prescription-strength creams, gels or lotions. Prescription topical medication may be used in conjunction with oral antibiotics to kill acne-causing bacteria. Doctors use injections of corticosteroids to treat large, painful acne cysts. If you have severe acne that does not respond to other treatments, your doctor may suggest that you take isotretinoin, a strong oral medication. Because isotretinoin can cause birth defects, women must use a reliable form of birth control while using the medication.
Removing oil from your face will reduce the chance that you will develop new pimples. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology recommends washing your face once or twice daily with an antibacterial soap and washing your hair on a regular basis. Oil from hair can clog pores if the oil happens to reach your face. If you have long hair, keeping your hair pulled back away from your face may reduce the amount of oil that reaches your face.
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