Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition where your skin’s pores and hair follicles become blocked with oil, dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells, leading to the formation of skin blemishes (such as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads or cysts).
Acne is the most common skin condition, especially amongst teenagers (13 to 19 years old), with more than 80% of adolescents and young adults suffering from acne issues.
However, it’s a common myth that only teenagers will develop acne. The truth is, you can’t “grow out” of acne. Many adults continue to experience acne even into their 30s, while some don’t develop acne until adulthood.
Although acne is a common problem and mild acne cases usually heal by themselves, there are still instances when your acne may be of concern and require attention from a dermatologist.
Mild cases of acne can easily be treated with over-the-counter acne products, typically those containing active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or retinol.
However, it may take several months to notice significant results from a product. As such, ensure that you apply them regularly and observe for some time.
If your breakouts aren’t healing despite consistently treating them or your acne appears to be worsening, you should probably consult a dermatologist to seek proper acne treatment.
Large nodules or deep cysts are more severe forms of acne and can damage your skin. They are also highly susceptible to scarring even after your breakout clears and are generally more painful and larger than a typical pimple.
As such, most over-the-counter products are usually ineffective and not strong enough to treat acne at this level.
Therefore, you should promptly seek acne treatment from a dermatologist or skin specialist to get your acne under control and prevent further inflammation.
If your breakouts develop after taking certain medications, it’s safe to assume that the product could cause your acne.
Medications such as birth control pills or steroids may develop acne due to changes in hormone levels. This leads to possible excess production of sebum (an oily substance that protects your skin), which could clog your skin pores to form acne.
A dermatologist can help to assess your acne condition and recommend the appropriate acne treatment options.
Acne scars are shallow indentations on your skin. They occur due to inflammation of acne blemishes, which can penetrate your skin and damage the tissues beneath.
However, unlike acne marks (or post-acne hyperpigmentation) which go away naturally after several months, acne scars are usually permanent. As such, they are often thought of as aesthetically unappealing and can significantly affect your self-esteem.
Hence, if you notice a possible acne scar, you should consult a dermatologist to receive professional treatment.
While acne is common and usually isn’t life-threatening, it can be painful if it becomes inflamed, especially in severe forms such as cysts or nodules.
Moreover, acne may also signal other health problems such as hormonal imbalance, stress or other emotional issues as these conditions are commonly known to affect acne.
As such, it is vital to seek proper and professional help from a dermatologist should you be concerned about your acne problems.