Acne is a common skin problem and can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life. Hence, prompt and apt treatment is necessary.
The 4 main factors responsible for acne are
- Overgrowth of bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes,Staph)
- Excess sebum production
- Altered keratinization of the ductal epithelium
The various predisposing factors for acne are
• Consumption of foods with high glycaemicindex (potatoes, white rice, Frenchfries,sweets, chips, cornflakes, watermelon etc)
• Excessive consumptions of dairy products such as low fat/skim milk, cheese etc.
• A diet which has more fibre, fruits, adequate water intake, low glycaemic index foods is helpful in acne.
• Stress leads to aggravation of acne while acne itself can lead to distress causing a vicious cycle.
• Smoking is one of the major culprits in acne flares these days.
• Seasonal changes also play an important role. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, high humidity conditions , excessive sweating are responsible for flare of acne during the summer season.
• Application of multiple skin products ,heavy makeups, thick moisturisers etc. with comedogenic ingredients such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil , linseed oil, oleic acid, beeswax, cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate , stearyl alcohol, lanolin, butyl stearate etc .
• Facials can trigger acne in predisposed individuals .
• Exposure to oil vapors during cooking, steam
• Waxing, threading, shaving may cause follicular irritation.
• Certain medicines such as steroids, multivitamins (vitamin B6,12), oral contraceptive pills, anti tubercular drugs,cyclosporine , gold etc. can trigger acneiform eruptions, especially on the back.
In certain predisposed individuals, acne if not treated early can lead to extensive scarring (which may be atrophic or hypertrophic).
A holistic approach works best in the management of acne with topical, systemic and procedural therapies such as chemical peels, IPL, comedone extraction etc.