What are the different types of acne?
• Blackheads: Open bumps on the skin that fill with excess oil and dead skin. They look as if dirt has deposited in the bump, but the dark spots are actually caused by an irregular light reflection off the clogged follicle.
• Whiteheads: Bumps that remain closed by oil and dead skin.
• Papules: Small red or pink bumps that become inflamed.
• Pustules: Pimples containing pus. They look like whiteheads surrounded by red rings. They can cause scarring if picked or scratched.
• Fungal acne (pityrosporum folliculitis): This type occurs when an excess of yeast develops in the hair follicles. They can become itchy and inflamed.
• Nodules: Solid pimples that are deep in your skin. They are large and painful.
• Cysts: Pus-filled pimples. These can cause scars.
All of these forms of acne can affect your self-esteem. It’s best to seek help from your healthcare provider early so they can help determine the best treatment option(s) for you.
What causes acne?
Certain things can cause acne and/or make it worse:
Fluctuating hormone levels around the time of a woman’s period.
Picking at acne sores.
Clothing and headgear, like hats and sports helmets.
Air pollution and certain weather conditions, especially high humidity.
Using oily or greasy personal care products (like heavy lotions, creams or hair pomades and waxes) or working in an area where you routinely come in contact with grease (such as working at a restaurant where there are greasy food surfaces and frying oil).
Stress, which increases the hormone cortisol, can also cause acne to flare.
Wash your face no more than twice each day with warm water and mild soap made especially for acne.
Do not scrub the skin or burst the pimples, as this may push the infection further down, causing more blocking, swelling, and redness.
Avoid popping pimples, as this makes scarring likelier.
A specialist can treat a pimple that requires rapid removal for cosmetic reasons.
Refrain from touching the face.
Hold the telephone away from the face when talking, as it is likely to contain sebum and skin residue.
Wash hands frequently, especially before applying lotions, creams, or makeup.
Clean spectacles regularly as they collect sebum and skin residue.
If acne is on the back, shoulders, or chest, try wearing loose clothing to let the skin breathe. Avoid tight garments, such as headbands, caps, and scarves, or wash them regularly if used.
Choose makeup for sensitive skin and avoid oil-based products. Remove makeup before sleeping.
Use an electric shaver or sharp safety razors when shaving. Soften the skin and beard with warm soapy water before applying shaving cream.
Keep hair clean, as it collects sebum and skin residue. Avoid greasy hair products, such as those containing cocoa butter.
Avoid excessive sun exposure, as it can cause the skin to produce more sebum. Several acne medications increase the risk of sunburn.
Avoid anxiety and stress, as it can increase production of cortisol and adrenaline, which exacerbate acne.
Try to keep cool and dry in hot and humid climates, to prevent sweating.
Acne is a common problem. It can cause severe embarrassment, but treatment is available, and it is effective in many cases.