Not all pimples on the face are acne. However, this pathology and more at present due to the use of the mask has dramatically increased its incidence, along with that of its first cousin, rosacea.
What is acne?
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that occurs when dead cells (cell debris) and skin oils clog hair follicles. Typical characteristics of the condition include different types of pimples on the face such as comedones (pimples), inflammatory papules and pustules (pimples), oily skin, and more severe cases, scars. It mainly affects areas of skin with a relatively higher number of sebaceous glands, including the face, upper chest and back. The resulting appearance can lead to anxiety, lowered self-esteem and, in extreme cases, even depression.
Acne commonly occurs in adolescence and affects approximately 80-90% of adolescents in the Western world. Children and adults can also be affected before and after puberty. Although acne becomes less common in adulthood, it persists in nearly half of affected people into their 20s and 30s, with a smaller group still struggling in their 40s.
Why do I get pimples on my face?
- The gene is the primary cause of acne in 80% of cases.
- The role of diet and smoking in the disease is unclear. However, a healthy diet is recommended (such as the Mediterranean diet) and avoid high intake of saturated fats (sausage, cream, fatty cheeses, pastries). In this regard, it has been found that high glycemic load diets have varying degrees of effect on acne severity and that a lower total glycemic load diet would have a benefit in acne. There is weak evidence from an observational study that suggests that the consumption of cow’s milk, mainly skimmed milk, is positively associated with a higher frequency and severity of acne. On the other hand, the evidence available to date does not support a clear link between eating chocolate or salt and the severity of acne or its worsening.
- In both sexes, hormones called androgens appear to be part of the underlying mechanism by causing increased sebum production. Medical conditions that commonly cause a high androgen status, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and androgen-secreting tumours, can cause acne in affected people, usually associated with irregular periods of alopecia, among other symptoms.
- Another common factor is the overgrowth of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, which is present on the skin. Cleaning and exposure to sunlight do not seem to have a causal influence on acne. However, many patients indeed report a temporary improvement in summer (due to the anti-inflammatory power of the sun), but a subsequent worsening due to a thickening of the skin. Skin from the sun. Few high-quality studies are showing that stress causes or worsens acne. Despite being controversial, some research indicates that increased acne severity is associated with high stress levels in specific contexts.
How to treat pimples on the face
For acne treatment, multiple treatments are available, including lifestyle changes, topical and oral medications, and medical procedures.
- In lifestyle, for example, eating fewer simple carbohydrates such as sugar or pastries and daily cleansing with a mild soap, in addition to avoiding the application of moisturizers, can minimize the condition.
- Commonly applied topical treatments are antibiotics (to avoid resistance, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, etc.), benzoyl peroxide alone, and topical retinoids azelaic acid, and salicylic acid.
- Orally, retinoids or antibiotics such as doxycycline can be helpful. Dermatologists generally reserve isotretinoin for moderate-severe acne due to potential side effects. However, some medical community members recommend early and more proactive treatment of acne to lessen the overall long-term impact on people and the generation of scars. In addition, within the oral treatments, various contraceptive pills can be useful against acne in women, mainly those with an antiandrogenic power. Medical procedures such as chemical peels or lasers can be helpful in treating acne scars and acne breakouts at the discretion of the specialist dermatologist.