Everyone knows what an embarrassing problem tiny bumps of acne can be, especially on important days like weddings. However, do you know how they are formed and what to do when acne strikes? That’s why we have compiled this quick guide to help you understand and keep your face spotless from acne and acne scars for your next event.
What is Acne?
Acne occurs when the oil produced on the skin mixes together with dirt and dead skin on the surface. This causes the skin to become a breeding ground for acne bacteria which swells up the pores. You could get a couple of bumps on your face at a time. Sometimes, they may be filled with pus while others can appear black or red and inflamed. So, if you notice that you have a lot of breakouts over time, you most probably have acne.
Acne does not just appear on your face but also on other parts of the body such as the back, and chest. Any place on the body that has an accumulation of oil and dirt can lead to a breakout.
Different Types of Acne
Whiteheads – They appear as small white spots on the face. This occurs when the pores get clogged with oil, dirt and dead skin cells.
Blackheads – They are formed by clogged hair follicles from oil and dirt. It appears black due to the oxidation on the dirt.
Pimples – They are essentially whiteheads or blackheads that have been infected by bacteria.
Pustule – This occurs when the skin wall over smaller pimples break, creating a bigger form of pimple that looks white, yellowish or filled with pus. This is because the white blood cells rush in to cover the exposed pimple.
Cystic Acne – These are often painful and large breakouts due to inflammation. However, unlike pimples which occurs on the pores, cystic acne occurs when bacteria gets trapped deeper into the skin.
Causes for Acne
Hormonal changes are one of the main causes for acne amongst many people. During times when your hormones fluctuate, it causes the onset of acne. Major breakouts occur during puberty, during the period cycle and also after giving birth. During these times of hormonal changes, the skin produces a lot more oil than usual which then leads to acne.
It is observed that acne breakouts can happen when you are stressed. During stressful periods, skin produces more oil which traps all the dirt and bacteria into the pores. Also, stress can also affect your diet and sleep patterns, which can cause acne to appear more frequently and in larger numbers.
Studies have shown that genetics indeed have a role to play in acne. It is observed that acne breakouts can run in the family, meaning that if you have a family member that has acne, it could explain why you could having it. Of course, there are other causes that lead to the formation of acne but inheriting susceptible skin could be an underlying factor to why you are experiencing breakouts.
Your diet can cause a breakout of acne. If eat a lot of refined carbohydrates or a lot of oily food, it over-stimulates oil production on the skin and thus cause more acne to breakout. Also, eating at oily, smoky or heaty settings, like barbeques, can clog the pores with oil and lead to acne.
How are Acne Scars Formed?
Acne scars are formed when the acne breaks or bursts, causing the liquid inside to spill out. This causes inflammation on the skin. In response, the skin creates new collagen fibres to cover up the exposed area. The result is a scar and the worser the inflammation, the higher the chance of getting a prominent scar. And like all other scars, they take a while to heal completely. Usually acnes burst due to external irritance like picking and rubbing.
How to Treat your Acne
Having a Proper Skin Care Routine
There are so many skin care routines out there that claim to get rid of acne super fast. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution as everyone is different. Generally, there are some steps you should follow to ensure that your skin is clean and at the same time, moisturised
The first thing to remember is that is to gently cleanse you face. If you wear makeup, ensure that you use a gentle makeup remover. After that, wash your face with a facial cleansing foam suitable to your skin type. You can use your hands, a face cloth or a face brush. If you are unsure of your skin type, you can ask a dermatologist in Singapore.
After cleansing your face, you need to use a toner. Toners will get rid of any remnant dirt, oil or makeup on your face. They will also close up the pores that open up during washing. Again, you need to choose the right toner according to your skin type. If you have acne serums, you can apply them after the toner.
The final step is to moisturise. Moisturisers are important they prevent the skin from drying out. But if you have oily skin then you should ONLY find a moisturiser that is suitable for oily skin – the worst thing to do would be to clog skin pores with more oil. If you are going out, wear some facial sunblock to prevent the ultraviolet rays from damaging your skin.
You can also opt for medication if you feel that your acne is severe and/or uncontrollable. These medications can be in the form of creams or pill. There are different types of medicines ranging from benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics to birth control pills. Some medications contain side effects which may affect your quality of life. Your dermatologist would recommend the best course based on your medical history and health. Typical meds for acne include Accutane and Acnotin.
There are so many sophisticated technologies and treatments available that can treat acne and get rid of acne scars. To name a few, there are whitehead and blackhead extractions, laser treatments such as the PICO LASER and chemical peels. These treatments can give fast and effective results to your acne and scars. Coupled together with professional skin care or medication, it can guarantee an improvement to your condition. However, each treatment have their own pros and cons and they are an investment.
Acnes are indeed a nuisance but you can definitely keep them at bay. A personal recommendation is Dr Lee Mun Heng of Cambridge Medical Group who is well-known for treating Acne and Acne Scars in Singapore.