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Acne is a condition occurring on your skin where your pores become clogged. While acne is more common on the face, it can appear anywhere on your body including your neck, back, shoulders, chest and arms. The pores and hair follicles of your skin get clogged with dead skin cells and oils, which can cause acne in the form of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, zits and various other blemishes. Many people notice acne is the worst around the time they go through puberty, though some experience adult acne as well. Luckily, there are many effective treatments for acne, including home treatments and medical ones. Over time, you can learn to keep it under control and prevent it from returning. Acne scarring is possible, so you should get treatment for your acne as soon as possible.

Causes and Risk Factors of Acne

Acne occurs when your pores or hair follicles get clogged and come from a variety of causes. While many people believe eating fatty foods and chocolate can lead to acne, this has been shown to not be the case. However, it is true that unhealthy foods in excess can lead to unhealthy skin overall, so you should avoid it. The causes of acne include dirt and bacteria building up in the pores and clogging them, skin oils and cosmetics getting into the pores, dead skin cells clogging them and excessive sweating.

You are at a higher risk of developing acne if you fit the risk factors or triggers. Being a teenager makes you more susceptible to acne because of hormonal changes and the extra amount of oils on your skin. The same can be true for other reasons for hormonal changes like taking birth control, during your menstrual period, while youre pregnant or during periods of high stress. Taking drugs like phenytoin, estrogen and testosterone can raise your risk for acne as well as having close family members with acne and using oily cosmetics or skin care products. Unhealthy diets can trigger acne or worsen it, including dairy, increased sugar and carbohydrates.

Symptoms, Signs and Tests of Acne

Acne can appear as many different types of bumps and pimples. This includes seeing small red bumps known as papules, cysts, blackheads, whiteheads, crusting on your skin bumps, redness around different bumps on your skin, skin scarring and itchiness around the different bumps. If you have deep breakouts on your face or body that are bright red or inflamed, you might have a severe form of acne known as cystic acne. This requires medical attention for treatment and you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. To diagnose acne, your doctor will usually just perform a physical examination. If they find large or open wounds on your face, these might be scars from cysts that may need to be removed. If the acne is bothering you, inflamed, itchy and scarring, consult your doctor to begin treatment.

Treatment, Drugs and Prevention of Acne

To treat acne, you can either get medical treatment or attempt to treat it at home. Even if you decide to try home treatments, you should still consult your doctor if you suffer from acne especially if it is uncomfortable, painful or if it is starting to cause scarring. The first type of treatment your doctor can give you for acne is topical treatments. For over-the-counter treatments, look for those with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, sulfur, resorcinol or benzoyl peroxide. They should be mild so that they dont inflame your skin.

Prescription topical medications are also available, such as Retin-A, Differin and Tazorac. These will kill extra bacteria on your skin which opens up your pores and diminishes the acne. For more severe acne, antibiotics might be prescribed, which reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. Other medical treatments include taking oral contraceptives, getting laser therapy, microdermabrasion procedures or procedures to remove the acne scars. Home treatments include eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, using an over-the-counter topical treatment, washing your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and being careful not to touch your face and spread skin oils.