How to get rid of acne?

Puberty is a time when hormones begin to affect the development of secondary sexual characteristics in both males and females. One of the characteristics of puberty is the increased internal and external secretion of glands. As a result of this process, the skin becomes more greasy and acne appear. In persons with a genetic predisposition, the work of sebaceous glands is increased, resulting in blackheads. Blackheads fill tiny channels in layers of the skin, forming cysts and then pus-filled lumps.

Depending on the type and severity of acne, they can be categorized into blackheads only, and those resulting in cysts and then pus-filled lumps in addition to blackheads. The most severe type of acne is characterized by knots, pus-filled lumps and painful skin changes which can spread across the entire surface of the face or back. In boys, acne is almost exclusively genetically predetermined, although they are most common during puberty, when the testosterone levels are the highest. Higher levels of the hormone testosterone can affect the levels of oiliness of skin and hair, although testosterone levels are within the normal range in boys and a large percentage of girls suffering from acne. In girls, in addition to being genetically predisposed, a hormone imbalance can be crucial for the appearance of acne. Acne usually disappears in a high percentage of girls once a regular menstrual cycle is established.

Acne and nutrition

An imbalanced diet, fast food and too much candy consumption can lead to a worsening of acne, but cannot be their cause. This type of food raises the level of insulin in the blood, which acts as a male hormone, making skin oily and prone to pus-filled lumps. Fruits and other types of natural sugars do not affect the occurrence of acne. According to some research findings, large amounts of milk or yogurt can negatively affect the severity and type of acne. Those findings state that dairy products contain high levels of hormones, so persons prone to acne should not consume more than three glasses of milk per day.

Acne and stress

Many adolescents don’t notice that stressful situations or life periods lead to new skin changes. This is caused by an increased adrenal glands hormone secretion which happens when the body is exposed to stress and these hormones have an androgen effect on the body (the effect of male hormones).

Acne treatment

Acne needs to be treated because it often results in scars which are hard to remove. There is no single universal therapy for acne. Acne therapy depends on the patient’s skin type and sensitivity as well as the type of acne. If the condition is caused by a hormonal imbalance, the hormonal status also needs treatment, in addition to skin treatment.

Acne treatments can include the use of lotions and creams with antiseptic and comedolytic effects, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, retinoids or topical antibiotics. Also, laser therapy can be very successful in treating acne, but its effects are only momentary.
After completion of any sort of therapy, be it laser treatment, creams or skin peels, patients must be given topical preparations for maintaining skin health in order to control the work of sebaceous glands. In severe cases of acne, antibiotic treatment or Isotretinoin tablets are used for a period of 4 to 6 months.

Treating acne scars

If scarring does occur in spite of treatment, there are different treatments which can drastically reduce the scars. These include chemical peels using Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which should be done by experienced dermatologists, as well as laser treatments, abrasion or hyaluronic acid fillers for scars.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade