Dermatologists and Skin Care

What Is Acne Vulgaris?

Written by Dr. Rabia and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

 

Acne vulgaris is a common condition that usually starts in teenage years when sebaceous glands become active. However, acne can also occur in childhood and even in infancy, but it is rare. Some individuals have an inherent tendency of having hyperactive sebaceous glands, this is one of the risk factors for future acne problem.

Some Facts About Acne:

Acne starts with clogged hair follicle that appears in the form of whiteheads further lead to blackheads ultimately forming pimples on the face. It can lead to cyst and nodule formation. Apart from the face, it can involve shoulders and back of the trunk. Especially, in those people who have severe kind of acne. Acne can be due to other reasons like cosmetics, drugs, and certain chemicals.

Having acne early in life is a risk factor for having future acne problems that can be severe. According to recent studies, the time of onset of acne has changed. It is appearing earlier than teenage and lasting longer.

Studies have tried to figure out the relationship between acne and diet, stomach problems, stress, etc., but there is low evidence of a connection between them. Some people have noticed that their acne gets aggravated with stress and tension. In females, acne aggravation can occur at around menstruation.

Can Endocrine Problems Cause Acne?

Acne can be associated with endocrine problems. In females, if acne is associated with an increase in hair loss (alopecia) and menstrual irregularities, one should think of underlying endocrine problems like polycystic ovarian disease, which is the most common cause. Other endocrine problems are less commonly associated.

What Drugs Cause Acne?

Acne can also occur due to certain drugs. The most important cause is steroids. Many people use steroid preparation on the face to lighten their skin color, which leads to acne problem. Certain cheap lightening creams available in the market also contain steroids in it and the consumer does not know about it. Cosmetic products and pomades can cause acne. Oil workers and chemical workers all can get acne due to chemicals.

How Is Acne Vulgaris Treated?

Treatment is given according to the severity of acne.

Mild acne can be treated with topical therapy like antibiotics and Benzoyl peroxide. Severe acne can be treated with oral antibiotics and oral retinoids. Topical and oral retinoids can be used. Oral retinoids have to be used with caution especially in those individuals who are depressed because retinoid themselves have a side effect of suicide ideation.

Retinoids control sebum production and kill the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes that also have a role in causing acne. It is comedolytic that is helpful in controlling comedones in a person with acne. Retinoids can make the skin dry due to its effect, so moisturizer is advisable in such individuals.

Last reviewed at: 09.Mar.2019

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