Acne vulgaris (acne) is a common skin disorder that usually manifests on the face and some parts of the back. Pimples are the most common type of acne and is usually more prominent in areas of your body where there is an abundance of oil that is produced by your sebaceous glands. It is characterized by the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, papules and nodules which can easily be diagnosed by your dermatologist.
Kinds of acne
Acne is classified according to its severity: mild, moderate, and severe. There are also two types of acne namely inflammatory and non-inflammatory, the latter being the milder type which is also generally referred to as blackheads or pimples instead of acne. The main difference between acne and pimples is that the former lasts for longer periods of time and is usually the culprit for scarring wherein pimples just come and go. Here are some common characteristics of acne:
- Mild – small, few pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads (comedones) which are usually caused by clogged pores. May develop into inflammatory acne if left untreated.
- Moderate – those with noticeably numerous pimples at a time. This kind of acne may be inflamed and may also appear like small bumps (papules) filled with yellow pus (pustules).
- Severe – there is the presence of papules, pustules, and nodules which can be painful and may result in scarring.
Who are at risk?
Having acne is quite common in pubescent teens aged 14 for girls and 16 for boys. However, in some cases, symptoms may persist until mid-’30s if left untreated. Women with hormonal disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also be put at risk.
Some medical research suggests that genetics, tobacco use, diet, and stress may contribute to the possibility of developing acne. But this is yet to be proven by further studies. Teenagers (both male and female) who are undergoing many hormonal changes (namely the spike in the production of the male hormone called androgen) are prone to increased oil production which may lead to acne. According to some studies, acne may be aggravated by using cosmetics which can possibly clog your pores so make sure you’re using the right kind for your skin type. Aside from using the wrong type of makeup, around 85% of women report flare-ups days before their monthly period begins since this is when they experience unpredictable hormonal fluctuations.
The presence of acne in teenagers usually improves around the late teen years or early 20’s. If this is not the case for you, there are a variety of treatments available at your local drugstore/retailer. Your derma may recommend a variety of treatment options like topical creams, antimicrobials (benzoyl peroxide), and skin care products which contain small amounts of salicylic acid. Oral medication may also be prescribed in severe cases. However, it is still recommended that you have yourself checked by your dermatologist before applying/taking any kind of medication.