What Is Acne Vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris is nothing but the prevalent form of the acne itself. These are also referred to as pimples or spots. Acne is the most common skin problem encountered in teenagers and adults. It has been estimated that around 85 % of teenagers are affected by acne.
How Is Acne Vulgaris Formed?
The skin contains numerous hair follicles, which, at times, may get blocked by bacteria, dead skin cells, or sebum. Sebum is an oil-like secretion produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin. When these hair follicles are blocked, it causes the formation of pimples, cysts, blackheads, or whiteheads.
What Causes Acne Vulgaris?
The formation of acne vulgaris is influenced by the following factors:
Presence of bacteria.
Acne vulgaris is most prevalently seen in young adults, which is linked to the fact there is increased production of androgen hormone that, in turn, increases sebum production bringing about acne outbreaks.
Another vulnerable group to acne formation is women in their peri-menopausal stage. In this case, acne formation is attributed to:
Intake of medications.
Hormonal changes that occur during menstruation or menopause.
Use of cosmetics products.
Disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
How Is Acne Vulgaris Manifested?
Although the most common area of manifestation is the face, it can also occur in other areas of the body like the neck, back, chest, or other parts of the body.
Based on their relationship to the skin, acne vulgaris can be:
Superficial lesions usually do not persist for more than a couple of weeks. The following are grouped under superficial lesions:
Pustules, which are white or yellow in color and can be squeezed.
Papules, which are painful, red bumps present on the skin. These are smaller in size.
Blackheads that are small, black bumps formed due to clogging of hair follicles.
Whiteheads, which are also similar to blackheads, except that these occur due to closed pores. While in the case of blackheads, the pores are open. These are white, raised bumps on the skin that arise from clogged hair follicles.
Deeper lesions are usually seen persisting for months and include the following:
Nodules, which are similar to papules but are comparatively larger in size.
Pseudocysts, as the name suggests, are cyst-like swellings. They are fluctuating in nature.
Depending on the clinical features, acne vulgaris can be graded into:
In the case of mild acne, pimples are seen along with whiteheads (closed comedones) or blackheads (open comedones), but the number of comedones is less than 20.
When the number of comedones or pimples is higher, it falls under the moderate form of acne.
There is widespread involvement of pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads in severe acne. In addition, there is the presence of nodules or cysts. These exhibit more pain, are larger in size and have a more solid texture as compared to the pimples.
How Are Secondary Lesions Formed in Acne Vulgaris?
Below are the different types of secondary lesions:
Scratching the spots or pimples brings about excoriations.
Scarring from previous acne outbreaks is also grouped under secondary lesions. Scarring can be of any type. However, moderate and severe forms of acne are more prone to cause skin scarring.
In the case of fair skin, pimples that have been healed recently are exhibited as red marks called erythematous macules.
Pigmented macules are also a form of secondary lesion that occurs in dark skin shades. These are dark in color.
How Is Acne Vulgaris Treated?
Treatment of acne requires diligence and patience both on the part of the patient and the doctor because acne is not going to get cured overnight or within a week or 10 days. You have to be constantly aware of your acne to keep them under control, as those with acne tend to form new acne. In addition, acne lessens with age, and until that happens, you need to use topical medication to keep them under control.
Treatment options for acne are plenty, and a dermatologist online would suggest the best for your acne. Acne treatment mainly revolves around topical antibacterials, topical benzoyl peroxide gel, and topical retinoids. Oral treatment includes oral antibiotics (Doxycycline, Azithromycin, Minocycline, etc.) and oral retinoids (Isotretinoin). Once acne is under control, it might require nothing more than a topical anti-acne gel/cream (mostly a topical retinoid) to maintain the improvement. But you cannot be totally off it unless the acne tendency dies down on its own at a certain age.
What Are the Complications Associated With Acne Vulgaris?
The following are the complications that accompany acne vulgaris if left untreated:
What Is the Impact of Acne Vulgaris on an Individual’s Mental and Social Health?
Acne is not a disease by itself, but being chronic in nature, it can have a significant impact on shaping the overall personality of a person.
People with acne are often found to have low self-esteem, which restricts them somehow or the other. Even moderate grade acne can lead to reduced self-esteem in teens and adults because they are constantly battling the issues related to how they look and are perceived by the outside world, peer pressure, and bullying by others.
People used to ignore acne in the past, but today in this highly competitive world where the first impression matters a lot, one cannot let acne play havoc with the skin, leaving behind lifelong acne scarring on the face. Imagine a girl who dreams of modeling or hospitality business or wants to become an air hostess. If that person develops severe acne and does not get proper treatment, then the acne is going to have an impact on their career for sure.
Acne vulgaris is a dermatological condition characterized by the formation of different types of acne, namely pimples, nodules, whiteheads, or blackheads. Any form of acne is sure to have an effect on the affected individual’s mental health. If left untreated, it can bring about scarring on the skin. Therefore, it is always advisable to reach out to a dermatologist soon after the incidence of acne to get the appropriate treatment and prevent complications.
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