What is it?
Acne is a skin disorder caused by the androgens that stimulate cutaneous sebum causing an obstruction of the ducts of the sebaceous glands, with the consequent appearance of comedones.
Who does it affect?
80% of the population at some point in their lives is affected. The focus, mainly, is adolescence, especially the male sex. Instead, acne in adulthood occurs mostly in women, as a result of hormonal imbalances or by a misuse of usual cosmetics.
At times, we may encounter neonatal acne. It usually appears during the first weeks of the baby’s life as a result of hormones that have been transferred through the placenta that stimulate the production of sebaceous glands.
The appearance of comedones are the basic sign in the early detection of acne, followed by the appearance of inflammatory lesions (papules, pustules and painful nodules), known as “pimples”. These tend to appear on the face (forehead, cheeks and chin), back and shoulders and during winter they usually get worse.
The factors that cause acne are:
- Excessive secretion of sebum
- Infection caused by an overgrowth of a microorganism that coexists in our skin (Propionibacterium acnes)
- Generic factors
- Hormonal mismatch
- Misuse of cosmetics (fatty substances)
According to their origin, we advise one or another treatment:
- Excessive secretion of sebum: the most effective medicines are retinol, derivatives of vitamin A, that can be administered topically (tretinoin, adapalene) or oral (isotretinoin). These directly affect in the sebum that produces the skin, in fact, are the only drugs that definitely cure acne.
- Bacterial infection: Once the acne is in an inflammatory or pustular process, it is recommended to take topical or oral antibiotics, which provide a temporary improvement of the known “pimples”.
- Inflammation: an option for acnes with a high inflammatory component is the use of topical anti-inflammatories (benzoyl peroxide, indomethacin, nicotinamide).
- Excess androgen: The acnes that originates from an excess of male hormones, cause more frequent in women, will require hormonal treatment (oral contraceptives or oral antiandrogens).
- Drugs: in this case it’s advisable to stop the treatment with the drugs that are causing it.
It’s important to treat acne from the origin to avoid or minimize the appearance of possible acne marks. In patients with acne scars, corrective treatments are applied, such as the application of fractionated CO2 laser, chemical peels with glycolic acid and / or hyaluronic acid infiltrations.