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What causes acne? Learn how to prevent it and discover the main treatments

A acne is a dermatological condition that affects thousands of people and is characterized by the appearance of blackheads, pimples and even cysts on the skin. It develops when hair follicles – where hairs appear – become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells, creating an environment conducive to the growth of bacteria.

It can appear on any part of the body that has skin, but is most common on the face, neck, back and shoulders.

“These areas have a higher concentration of sebaceous glands which increases the likelihood of developing acne. In addition to these more common areas, acne can also appear on the arms, buttocks and even the scalp. The location of acne can vary from person to person and is influenced by genetic, hormonal, environmental and lifestyle factors”, explains dermatologist Vívian Simões Pires.

Additionally, acne can affect people of all ages — from babies to older adults. However, there are certain periods of life when it is more common, such as adolescence, due to the hormonal changes that occur during puberty.

This is because hormonal changes stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, increasing the risk of blockage of hair follicles and, consequently, the emergence of acne.

“Acne is not all the same. It may have the presence of blackheads; papules (rounded, hardened lesions); pustules (with pus); nodules (inflamed lesions that can lead to tissue destruction, causing scars) and cysts, which expand into deeper layers of the skin, leave scars”, explains Gislaine Sales, dermatologist.

Factors that contribute to the appearance of acne

  • Family history: Genetics plays a key role in the development of acne;
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy or menstruation, can increase sebum production and contribute to acne;
  • Bacteria: The bacteria Propionibacterium acnespresent on everyone’s skin, can proliferate within clogged follicles, leading to inflammation and the formation of acne;
  • External factors: Stress, diet, some medications, and even using the wrong skin products can make acne worse in some people.

See four tips to avoid acne

To prevent acne, it is essential to use skincare products suited to your skin type, use moisturizers that do not have the potential to clog pores, the so-called non-comedogenic ones, and sunscreen.

“This includes washing your face regularly with a mild soap, avoiding excessive use of cosmetic products that can clog pores, such as oily makeup, and using skin care products”, explains dermatologist Fernanda Nichelle.

Maintaining a balanced diet, avoiding processed foods and sugars, is also important to prevent the appearance of acne. As well as getting adequate sleep to reduce stress levels. See four tips below.

  1. Gentle facial cleansing: Wash your face twice a day with a mild soap and warm water. Avoid scrubbing or using abrasive products as this can irritate the skin
  2. Hydration: Even if your skin is oily, hydration is crucial to maintain balance and prevent dryness. Use an oil-free moisturizer twice a day
  3. Never sleep with makeup on: Makeup can clog your pores and make acne worse. Remove all makeup before bed and wash your face thoroughly.
  4. Healthy eating: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your skin healthy. Avoid processed, fatty, and high-glycemic foods.

Effective and safe treatments for acne

When acne appears on the skin, it is important to avoid squeezing, as this can worsen inflammation, increasing the chances of infection and can lead to the formation of permanent scars on the skin.

To treat inflammation, dermatologists consulted by CNN recommend some care and treatments that are safe when done correctly and under professional guidance. See below.

  • Topical retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, they promote cell renewal, unclog pores and reduce the formation of acne;
  • Benzoyl peroxide: A topical antibacterial with anti-inflammatory properties, which helps reduce acne;
  • Salicylic acid: A beta-hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin, unclogging pores and reducing inflammation;
  • Antibiotics: In more serious cases, topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed to combat acne-causing bacteria;
  • Hormones: For women with hormonal acne, oral contraceptives may be an effective treatment option;
  • Isotretinoin: An oral medication derived from vitamin A, indicated for severe cases of acne that do not respond to other treatments.

See seven tips for taking care of your skin and avoiding dryness in winter

Source: CNN Brasil

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