Little Red Bumps on the Face
Little red bumps on the face, more commonly referred to as acne, is the most common skin condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Around 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from acne. It can occur at any age, but the condition is most common during the teenage and young adult years.
Development of Acne
Each hair follicle is connected to a sebaceous gland, which secretes an oily substance called sebum in an effort to lubricate the hair and skin. In normal circumstances, sebum travels through the hair follicle and then exits onto the surface of the skin. If the body produces excess amounts of sebum, it can become trapped in the hair follicle where it mixes with dead skin cells and clogs the follicle. The result is a small, raised bump that may contain a whitehead.
The exact cause of acne has not been pinpointed, but a number of risk factors have been identified. One of the most common risk factors is hormonal changes brought about by adolescence, pregnancy, menstrual cycles or certain medications. Other risk factors include family history, direct contact with oily substances and chronic friction on the face, such as from excessive cell phone use or the wearing of helmets.
There are several different forms of acne. Little red bumps are medically referred to as papules or pustules. Papules are small and raised and usually indicate an infection or inflammation in the hair follicle, according to MayoClinic.com. In addition to redness and tenderness, pustules also contain white pus at the tips. Comedones may also occur in conjunction with pustules or papules. Comedones, more commonly referred to as whiteheads or blackheads, occur when hair follicles become trapped with oil and bacteria.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne treatment usually takes between four to eight weeks. Overnight cures do not exist and medications that make these claims should be avoided. Mild acne can be treated with topical medications. Low-strength topical creams are available over-the-counter and higher-strength medications can be prescribed by a doctor. Severe cases of acne may benefit from the use of oral antibiotics or corticosteroid injections.
Although acne is commonly associated with the consumption of greasy foods and high-sugar foods like chocolate, MayoClinic.com notes that these items actually have a minimal effect on acne. Dirt is also not a cause of acne; in truth, excessive skin cleansing can actually exacerbate symptoms of acne.
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