NAD HEALTH EDUCATION PUBLICATION
Written by Dr Belema Omuso Abbey
Acne ( known as pimples in layman term), are rashes on the face. These rashes usually occur in various sizes and looks. You would notice that some are really tiny, others bigger in size like boils, some red and others the colour of your skin.These different rashes will all appear on the face almost at the same time. Sometimes, some people only have the very tiny rashes which is called comedones.
Apart from the face,acne can also occur on your chest, back and shoulders. Acne could itch you, be painful or bleed in rare cases. There is a type of acne that can make you feel burning sensations when you go under the sun and make you see tiny veins on your face. This type of acne can thicken the skin of your nose, chin and forehead.
Acne occurs in all ages. Though more often seen in teenagers and young adults, they could occur in very young children and the elderly. Both males and females can have acne. Males would usually have worse rashes, especially during their teens.
You would have often wondered why you have acne. Acne is caused by an interlinked activity of a hormone called androgen, the quantity of sebum (oil ) an individual has on the skin, a bacteria on the face and the cells of the skin.
What happens is that the hormone, androgen, sensitizes the skin cells to grow a bit faster where the pores (holes) on your face is. This blocks the pores, allowing sebum (oils) to build up causing those tiny rashes. You would occasionally have pressed out sebum from a tiny rash on your face, or seen someone else do it.
Sebum contains fatty acids that cause the usually normal bacteria on the skin to become hyperactive, making them cause an infection and turn into a boil at the end.
Large black swellings, black rashes, holes of varying sizes, other scars etc are some of the after effects of acne. They usually occur when we scratch, pick and press acne continously.
Then again, acne can result from other causes. The steroid containing cream you use to bleach your skin can lead to acne. This is one of the commonest causes of acne in adulthood. Especially for someone who never had during the teen age. Acne could result from your occupation, the hair oils you apply and could be as a result of a drug reaction.
Why do I get more acne outbreak when I eat groundnut, fried foods, chocolates, when i am under stress and I am on my period you might wonder. These are not the initial cause of your acne but stress, hormone changes during your period and food with high sugar content have been shown to worsen acne.
The treatment of acne needs a dermatologist's attention to determine the type of acne you have, what the rashes look like and which drug will best treat it. It usually involves at least 3 drugs ( creams and tablets ) to be taken for at least 3 months continously. So, find a dermatologist in your area to diagnose and treat your facial rash properly. A dermatologist will also treat the after effects of acne.
Lastly, people with acne need your support not your stares. They struggle with having to live with these rashes on their faces and usually feel really bad about it. Being sensitive to their feelings is as important as the drugs used to treat the rashes.
So, now you know that the rashes on your face could be acne and it is treatable by a professional. You also now know that the over counter treatments you buy and rub on your face could potentially cause more acne. Do find a dermatologist in your area to get the right treatment.