Acne is a common skin condition that is characterised by sebum filled pustules, mostly occurring during puberty, but can be present all through adult life. Acne mostly occurs on the face, chest and back. Medically acne is known as Acne Vulgaris, and is most often caused by an increase in hormones, such as those experienced during puberty but acne can also be caused by certain kinds of skin bacteria. A simple break down of a pimple is that skin cells, sebum and hair binds together into a plug and this plug is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which results in swelling as the skins oil - sebum is trapped. The pimple develops when the plug breaks down.
There are six types of acne:
- Whiteheads: are under the skin and are small
- Blackheads: are very visible on the surface of the skin and are black in colour. Contrary to popular opinion, blackheads are not caused by dirt so no amount of cleansing will help.
- Papules: are small pink bumps visible on the surface of the skin.
- Pustules: Is the common pimple, they red on the base and have a pus filled top.
- Nobules: these are large, solid pimples. These are embedded deeply and are quite painful.
- Cysts: are surface pimples that are painful and pus filled. These are the one that cause scars.
Some basic tips for preventing acne are:
- Don’t over wash your face; twice a day max. Use a gentle cleanser with warm water, and no matter how badly you want to, DO NOT scrub the skin as this will damage the delicate the skin and cause irritation.
- Do not burst the pimple, as this can exasperate the infection and cause more blocking and swelling. Popping also increases the likelihood of scarring.
- Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face, as there could be sebum residue and bacteria that could contribute to acne.
- Change your pillow case often.
- Don’t go to sleep with makeup on, even the lightest weight non-oily make up can still clog pores.