Acne is an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of the skin especially on the face. In this disease, sebaceous glands become clogged and infected. It is most common during adolescence, but also occurs in infants and adults. Acne happens when oil (sebaceous) glands come to life around puberty, when these glands are stimulated by male hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands of both boys and girls.
The oil glands, which are located just beneath the skin, continuously produce and secrete oil through openings in the skin. The oil lubricates and protects the skin. Under certain circumstances, cells that are close to the openings of the oil glands block the openings. This causes a buildup of oil underneath the skin.
Bacteria, which live in everyone’s skin but are usually harmless, starts growing and multiplying on this oil, thus causing the surrounding tissues to become inflamed.
If the inflammation is right near the surface, it gives rise to a pustule; if it’s deeper, it forms a papule (pimple); and if deeper still, it becomes a cyst.
If the oil breaks through to the surface, the result is a “whitehead.” If the oil becomes oxidized, the oil changes from white to black, and the result is a “blackhead.”
Causes of Acne:
There are four major factors responsible for causing acne. They act together to cause the characteristic pimples, whiteheads and blackheads associated with acne. They are:
1. Overactive Oil Glands
Oil glands are located deep in the skin. They are also known as sebaceous glands. Each oil gland is connected to a tiny canal that contains a hair. The canal with its contained hair is called a follicle.
The oil glands are stimulated to produce oil by hormones, specifically the male hormones called androgens (women also have these hormones, but much less of them). These hormones are produced by the testes in men and by the ovaries in women. In both sexes, androgens are also produced by the adrenal glands.
During times of stress, the adrenal glands produce increased levels of these hormones, causing even greater enlargement of the oil glands.
During puberty, the oil glands become overactive in response to hormonal changes.
2. Blockage of the Skin Pores
Oily skin occurs when an overactive oil gland enlarges and overproduces oil. Acne develops when some of the pores become blocked, resulting in trapping of oil within the skin pores.
The pores are blocked by skin cells that have been shed from the lining of the skin pore and have bunched together. The cause of this clogging is not known, but it is not due to poor hygiene. A blackhead or whitehead will develop from this skin pore blockage
3. Activity of Normal Skin Bacteria
When oil is trapped in the hair follicles, the normal skin bacteria will grow in the blocked pore. The bacteria produce chemicals that alter the composition of the oil, which makes it more irritating to the skin and causes inflammation.
Inflamed skin is characterized by redness, swelling, warmth and discomfort. Inflammation of the skin occurs because the body’s immune system is acting to rid itself of a foreign substance. In the case of acne, this substance is either bacteria or the irritating compounds they have produced.
Symptoms of Acne:
There are two main types of acne:
In non-inflammatory acne, there are usually just a few whiteheads and blackheads on the face. A relatively mild type of acne, it can often be treated effectively with nonprescription medicines. The majority of people with acne have this type of acne. With inflammatory acne, the whiteheads become inflamed and red pimples and pustules develop.
Self-Care Treatment of Acne:
1. Use ordinary hygiene on affected areas, washing your face once or twice daily with your usual soap or cleanser. Deodorant soaps may be used, but they are of no particular value for acne.
2. Do not scrub or use a loofa. Friction makes acne worse.
3. Do not pick or squeeze. This may worsen scarring.
If home treatments do not work, acne can be treated effectively by a dermatologist. Options may include:
• Topical treatments
• Oral antibiotics
• Hormonal medications like oral contraceptives
Home Remedies for Acne:
1. Two vitamins, specifically, niacin and vitamin A have been used effectively to treat acne.
2. One most effective remedy in the region of nourishment that seems to offer new promise of help for acne is zinc.
3. Home-based Acne Treatment using Orange peel has been found very useful. Pound the orange skin with water on a piece stone and apply to acne affected areas. One of the best home remedies for acne.
4. An easy medicine at home for acne: Lemon juice applied frequently has proved very valuable in reducing pimples and acne.
5. Coriander and Mint Juice: A teaspoon of coriander juice, mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder, is an additional effective home medicine for pimples and blackheads. The combination should be applied to the face after carefully washing it each night before retiring. Mint juice can be used in a similar mode as coriander juice.
6. Cucumber: Grated cucumber applied over the face, eyes, and neck for fifteen to twenty minutes has been found useful. It is the most excellent boost for the skin of the face. Its usual use prevents pimples and blackheads.
Recommended Diet for Acne
1. To start with, the patient is supposed to take only an ‘all-fruit’ diet for a week, taking three meals a day, of fresh ripe fruits, such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, pineapples, and peaches. Merely unsweetened lemon or plain water, either hot or cold, ought to be drunk and not anything else.
2. Following the one-week, all-fruit diet, the patient can increasingly adopt a well-balanced diet with stress on raw foods, in particular fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouted seeds, raw nuts, and whole grain cereals, mainly millet and brown rice. Additional short periods of the ‘all-fruit’ diet meant for three days or so might be essential in a monthly period till the skin’s state improves.
3. Meats, sugar, strong tea or coffee, condiments, pickles, soft drinks, candies, ice cream, developed and processed foods be supposed to be avoided as far as possible