Who does not want to get rid of acne? Especially severe acne. Everyone’s goal as far as our skin is concerned,is for it be as clear as possible. We want our skin to be blemish-free, flawless, and spotless. However, sometimes it just doesn’t happen easily especially when you have an acne-prone skin.
Acne has been a continuous struggle for so many people. When a person hits the puberty period, a lot of changes take place in the body. These changes are mostly good,except for acne. And it does not stop there. Puberty is sometimes just the beginning of a person’s acne struggle. In worst cases, it goes on and on.
Severe Acne: Causes and Treatments
Just like other types of acne, severe acne develops when pores get clogged with too much oil and dead skin cells. When this happens, it creates a good environment where acne bacteria can grow. Severe acne takes place when bacterial infection goes deeper into the skin, generating too much pus. This causes the hair follicle to erupt, spreading the infection to other nearby follicles. As a result, a large, extremely red, and inflamed lesion (cyst) appears on the skin. Aside from being painful, severe acne can also leave deep permanentscars when healed.
What Causes Severe Acne?
No one is really sure of what is exactly causing severe acne. Again, it develops the same way other common types of acne develops. However, it is said that the male hormone known as androgen plays a significant part in severe acne development. Androgen is present in both men and women. When a person hits the puberty period, the androgen level increases, causing oil glands to overly produce sebum, which then leads to clogged pores and severe acne growth. In women, severe acneis normally treated by undergoing hormonal therapy that could reduce the androgen level.
Four Most Common Types of Severe Acne
Severe acne has several types. Here are the four most common ones:
- Nodulocystic or Cystic Acne. This type of severe acne is characterized by a large, inflamed bump which is normally filled with pus, blood, and other fluids. It is normally painful and commonly develops on the face, back, and chest. In most casesn it appears in clusters,causing the size to reach a few centimeters.
- Acne Conglobata. This type of severe acne is chronic. It never gets healed. It could be ceased for a period of time using strong medication, but eventually comes back afterwards. Acne Conglobata is commonly seen in men ages 18-30. This type of severe acne is characterized by extremely red and large bumps. It is also full of pus.Ulcers may develop beneath and could cause deep scars when it gets healed.
- Acne Fulminans. This type of severe acne is characterized by abrupt and serious inflammation that affects the whole body. This normally starts with fever and joint pains. Acne in this condition also develops ulcers. Acne Fulminans normally occurs after the treatment for acne conglobatafails.
- Gram Negative Folliculitis. This acne-like disorder in extreme condition is caused by gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli, klebsiella, pseudomonas aeruginosa, serratiamarcescens, and proteus species. Technically, it is not really acne. Though, this condition is normally a result of treating acne with oral antibiotic such as tetracycline for a long period of time. Gram negative folliculitis appears like pustular rash commonly mistaken as worsening acne since it is observed on people with existing acne.
Severe Acne Treatments
Severe acne needs special attention from a dermatologist for proper treatment and medication. Here are some of the most prescribed treatments for severe acne.
- Prescription-strength topical treatment. These normally comes in the form of gel, cream, and lotion. Its strength varies and will be prescribed based on what type of severe acne you have. Your dermatologist may also prescribe a combination of these topical medications.
- Oral antibiotics. Because of severe acne condition, topical treatment might not be enough to cure or prevent it. In most cases, topical treatment is combined with oral antibiotics to fight and kill bacteria and diminish inflammation.
- Combination oral contraceptives (Hormone Therapy). Women with severe acne may take birth control pills as prescribed by a doctor to decrease the level of testosterone. Having a lower testosterone level may decrease the severity of acne in women. Birth control pills bring so many bad and good side effects. It is important to discuss this with your doctor before using oral contraceptives. (Read more about birth control for acne)
- Cortisone shots. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory chemical produced by the body naturally. However, naturally produced cortisone in the body does not last long to fight acne inflammation. For cystic or severe acne, cortisone is injected directly into the bump to help reduce inflammation quickly. As a result, large red bumps will flatten fast.
- Isotretinoin. This is an acne pill that is normally prescribed to people with a severe acne condition that does not respond to any other medication. This pill is taken for a period of 15-20 weeks and are said to be very effective. Unlike other acne medication with mild side effects, Isotretinoin can cause high risk of depression and can result to deformed infant if taken during pregnancy. Other side effects include dry nose and mouth, cracked lips, and muscle and joint pain.
4 Easy and Effective Homecare Steps for Severe Acne
Healing, controlling, and preventing severe acne should not rely only on a dermatologist. Your dermatologist can only prescribe medication that is best suited for your acne condition. The biggest part of winning your battle against severe acne should be played by you. Your doctor will not be by your side 24/7. Taking care of your acne based on what is prescribed greatly depends on you. With the aid of your doctor’s prescribed medications, the responsibility to complete the job is yours.
- Wash. Generally, your facial wash should be mild and non-comedogenic. If your dermatologist prescribed a specific type of facial wash, you have to use it. When washing your face, you have to be gentle. Scrubbing your face too hard will only aggravate the condition of your acne. After washing, gently pat it dry with a clean towel.
- Treat. After washing your face and drying it up, don’t forget to treat your acne by applying whatever topical treatment was prescribed by your doctor. Severe acne is different from just regular pimples. So, you can’t just use any over-the-counter topical acne medication that you want.
- Moisturize. To avoid dry and flaky skin, make sure to apply a good amount of light and non-comedogenic moisturizer after applying the topical treatment on your face. If there is a specific moisturizer your doctor wants you to use, do not deviate from it. Moisturizing your face or skin will help diminish dead skin cells that can clog your pores. However, if moisturizer is not prescribed, then skip this step.
- Take your meds. For severe acne, oral medication is normally recommended aside from topical treatments. Whatever it is, may it be an antibiotic or combination oral contraceptives, you have to take your meds regularly and on time with the right dosage.
The secret for a fast-healing process is doing these steps religiously as prescribed by your dermatologist. Your doctor knows what he or she is doing to address your acne problem. Avoid doing self-medication because it might get you into a greater problem. Avoid skipping your meds. Commit to doing your acne regimen. Do not be lazy. Above all, do not deviate from your doctor’s prescription.
Severe Acne Scar Treatment
Severe acne, when healed, can cause serious and deep scars. Below are some reminders to avoid severe scarring and recommended severe acne scar treatments that you might want to consider.
Basic Reminders to Prevent Acne Scars
- Keep your hands off! Never play with or touch your pimple except when you are applying medication on it. Without knowing it, your hands carry a lot of bacteria. Frequent touching may aggravate your acne which could lead to infection. Touching, picking, popping, or squeezing can make your acne worse leading to a deep scar when it heals.
- Avoid sun exposure. Our body has the ability to do its own repair. Scars and pimple marks will eventually fade as your body undergoes its own healing process. However, if you are exposed to the sun most of the time, the process of healing and fading your scars becomes slow.
For deep and severe acne scars, here are the most recommended treatments:
- Chemical peels. This is done by applying high-potency acid to acne scars. It helps peel off the top layer of the skin, minimizing deep scar tissue.
- Laser resurfacing. This procedure uses laser light which is proven to improve skin texture and appearance by renewing it.
- Light therapy. This treatment uses specialized lasers and radio frequency devices to treat severe acne scars. This works by heating the dermis that causes new skin to form. After a number of treatment sessions, acne scars will noticeably fade.
- Soft tissue fillers. This process works by injecting soft tissues such as collagen or fat under the indented scars making it less noticeable. The result will just be for a short period of time, thus to maintain it, you will need to undergo the same process periodically. This severe acne scar treatment could result to temporary swelling, redness, and bruising.
- Skin surgery. This severe acne scar treatment uses a minor procedure called punch excision. In this procedure, your doctor cuts out acne scars and patch up the hole in the scar by stitching or skin grafting.
Baby Acne: Causes and Treatments
If you think acne is only for teens and adults, think again. Babies may suffer from acne too even at their very young age. This is what they call baby acne.
What is Baby Acne?
Baby acne are acne that develop on babies’ skin. Baby acne is not a rare skin condition. Most babies experience baby acne and it’s mostly temporary and heals by itself.
What Causes Baby Acne?
Baby acne normally occurs in babies 2 to 4 weeks after birth. There is really no known cause or reason why babies get acne.
Baby acne is commonly seen on babies’ faces like on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. But sometimes they could also develop on the chest or back. Unlike adult acne, baby acne is smaller. It is normally characterized by a small red bump, like a pimple. It could also appear like white pustules.
How to Treat Baby Acne?
In most cases, baby acne does not last that long on babies’ skin. In fact, it gets easily healed without using any medication. However, in cases when you can’t seem to get rid of your baby’s skin, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician. They may prescribe medicated creams or lotions especially formulated for baby acne.
Never ever try using any medication on your baby’s acne that is not prescribed by your pediatrician. Babies have very sensitive skin. Regular topical acne treatments for adults will surely irritate their skin and worsen the situation. Read more about Baby Acne Treatment.
Home Care for Baby Acne
While you are waiting for your baby’s acne to disappear, here are some tips that can help avoid aggravation.
- Keep your hands off. Avoid touching it. Your hands carry a lot of germs and bacteria that will surely irritate baby acne. Also, when applying medication, make sure to wash your hands first.
- Keep your baby’s face clean. Wash your baby’s face regularly. Once or twice a day is enough. Over-washing can worsen baby acne condition. Use mild soap or facial wash especially formulated for babies.
- Be gentle. When washing, do not put too much pressure on the skin. Avoid scrubbing it. Do it as lightly as possible. This way, you won’t irritate it. Also, gently pat it using a soft and clean towel.
- Use what is prescribed. Avoid applying products like lotion or cream that is not prescribed by your pediatrician. Use only prescribed products with the recommended amount.
It will heal; just be patient. Do not rush and get so worried about baby acne. Let it heal. It won’t last that long.
Read more about How to Get Rid of Baby Acne.