What is acne vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris is one of the most common types of skin condition, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. It is caused by a combination of hormones, bacteria, sebum, and inflammation in the hair gland of the skin. Acne vulgaris manifests as comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), pustules, nodules, and cysts. Acne vulgaris is often found in areas of the body that have the most active glands, such as the face, chest, and back.
Common Types of Acne Vulgaris
- Blackheads – open comedones characterized by dark spots
- Whiteheads – closed comedones characterized by small white bumps
- Papules – inflamed, tender red bumps
- Pustules – pus-filled lesions
- Nodules – large, inflamed, and hard bumps under the skin
- Cysts – deep, pus-filled lesions
Causes of Acne Vulgaris
The exact cause of acne vulgaris is unknown; however, there are several factors that can contribute to its development. These include:
- Hormones: Fluctuation in hormones, such as androgens or testosterone, can increase the production of oils on the skin, leading to acne.
- Bacteria: Propionibacterium acnes bacteria can lead to an overgrowth that infects pores and causes inflammation.
- Sebum Production: An overproduction of sebum, which is the body’s natural oil, may lead to clogged pores and bacteria growth.
- Stress: Stress can trigger or worsen breakouts.
- Diet: Eating a high-glycemic diet could make acne worse.
Acne vulgaris can be treated both topically and/or orally with various medications. Options include, but are not limited to:
- Topical Retinoids – Used to reduce the production of follicle cells
- Antibiotics – Used to reduce inflammation and bacterial growth
- Azeliac Acid – Used to reduce bacterial growth, reduce inflammation, and lighten marks
- Oral Contraceptives – Used to increase sex hormone-binding globulin, which helps to suppress the body’s androgen levels
Tips for Preventing Acne Vulgaris
Individuals can take several steps to reduce their risk of developing acne vulgaris and keep existing acne from worsening:
- Wash your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water
- Avoid touching your face or popping pimples
- Stay hydrated and keep your skin hydrated with a light moisturizer
- Eat a healthy diet low in added sugar and processed foods
- Avoid stress as much as possible
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