How to get rid of acne ? In this article we’re going to look at the causes of acne, the types and symptoms along with treatment options.

The word acne comes from the word acme meaning the highest point. It originates from the Greek word akme which is defined as meaning point or spot and is the result of a misspelling (n instead of m) in the 1800s.

We know acne as a condition characterized by spots, zits, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, rashes and other skin blemishes. It’s a disease that involves the skins pores and oil glands which, whilst not dangerous, can leave scars … both physical and emotional.

how to get rid of acne

Simply explained the skin is covered in tiny holes known as pores. These pores join up with oil glands, located just under the skin, by way of minute canals known as follicles (through which the hairs also grow). The oil produced by these glands is called Sebum and it’s there to transport all the dead skin cells up the follicle canals to form a plug at the surface of the skin. If these pores get blocked, or constricted, the plug becomes infected and a swelling will result and hence spots, pimples and zits will form.

Acne usually only affects the face, back, chest, shoulders and neck and can vary in development from a very mild form to extremely severe.

Causes Of Acne

how to get rid of acneAlthough it’s a really common condition nobody is entirely certain what causes acne. It’s this that means there’s no definitive answer to the question how to get rid of acne. It is accepted that hormones have an effect with increased levels of a hormone called androgen appearing to cause the sebum oil glands to grow and produce excess oil and create an imbalance in the pores resulting in bacteria growth.

Hormone changes (in pregnancy for example) can also cause acne and some dermatologists think that there could be a genetic link too. There is also a link to certain medications and a possibility of certain cosmetics and skin products affecting certain individuals.

Vitamin deficiency, especially Vitamin D, may be a contributing factor.

Stress may not be the cause but is believed to aggravate acne.

A link between diet and acne is unproven.

Dirt does not cause acne and, in fact, frequent washing can actually irritate acne and make it worse.

Not very helpful really but the truth of the matter is that no one exactly knows just what the cause of acne actually is.

Types Of Acne

Below is an overview of the different forms and links to more specific information about each condition, causes and cures.

Common acne forms include:

Acne Vulgaris:

The most common form of acne and, in its mild to moderate form, includes:

Blackheads – the result of a pore being partially blocked and hence allowing trapped bacteria, oil (sebum) and dead skin to gradually drain to the surface. A common misconception is that the black colour is dirt but it’s actually a skin pigment called melanin that has reacted with oxygen.

Whiteheads – if the pore is completely blocked then a whitehead forms. The completely trapped bacteria, oil, and dead skin causes a small white spot to appear on the surface of the skin. They are normally quicker to heal than blackheads.

Papules – these are inflamed red bumps on the skin with no head – they should never be squeezed as it will not be of any benefit and, in fact, may cause scaring.

Pustules – your common zit! These are the most common type of acne appearing as an inflamed red circle with a white or yellowish centre. These can be squeezed and “popped” but avoid doing so with bare hands, instead use a sterile material.

This form of acne often starts during puberty and, whilst it can effect the entire body, it is most common on the face, neck, back and chest.

In its more severe form acne vulgaris includes:

Nodules – these are hard bumps, often large, that develop under the skin, can be quite painful and can last for months. Scaring is common with this kind of lesion and, if not treated, can reoccur again and again.

Cysts – similar to the above nodule but pus filled. They too can be very painful and scarring is common. Avoid squeezing as it can cause a more severe infection.

Acne Rosacea:

This can appear very similar in appearance to the above acne vulgaris and they can easily be confused for one another. It affects millions of people all over the world, most of who will be over the age of 30.

It presents itself in the form of a red rash normally over the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin, which is often accompanied alongside pimples, skin bumps and blemishes … NOT blackheads. It is often more severe in men but is much more prevalent in women and needs professional treatment to avoid further problems, in particular the swelling of the face.

Severe Acne Types

Not as common but twice as bad!

Acne Conglobata:

The most severe form of acne vulgaris and is more common in men. Typically those of an age between 18 and 30. It usually manifolds as large lesions. These lesions may be joined together along with widely spread blackheads. It can be found on the thighs, buttocks, chest, upper arms, and face. When your looking at how to get rid of acne conglobata it needs to be properly treated with strong, effective medication. Seek medical advice as it can remain active for years and cause irreversible skin damage.

Acne Fulminans:

Described as a sudden, dramatic, onset of acne conglobata. It normally affects young men with symptoms of severe nodules which often appear ulcerated and scarring is commonplace. Symptoms can also be accompanied by an aching of the joints and a high temperature and can require a spell in hospital and treatment with steroids.

Gram-Negative Folliculitis:

A little known and rare bacterial infection that is characterized by cysts and pustules and often resulting from long term antibiotic treatment of other forms of acne.

Pyoderma Faciale or Rosacea Fulminans:

A severe form of acne that is only found in females. Usually only those between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. It typically presents itself as large nodules that may be large, painful sores, nodules and pustules. This type of acne can often start suddenly and is confined to the facial area. The onset may be sudden and dramatic. It can affect women who have not had any previous acne problems, of any description, in the past. To run its course may take a period of up to a year but can have a dramatic affect during this time. Scarring is also a serious concern with this kind of acne.

So, with several different types, many different causes you’ll begin to see why the question how to get rid of acne is not an easy one to answer!

How To Get Rid Of Acne

Skinception ClearPores

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How To Get Rid Of Acne – Useful Links:

American Acne & Rosacea Society

American Acne Foundation

Acne Academy

American Skin Association

British Skin Foundation