Almost every teenager will experience acne to some degree; be it an occasional blackhead or whitehead, to more serious pimples; pustules and blemishes.
Acne usually occurs between the ages of 12 and 20, and can last for between 5 and 10 years. People blame everything from stress to diet for their acne, but the truth is that acne occurs because of elevated hormone levels that rise during the onset of puberty and adolescence.
Elevated hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands, which are attached to the hair follicles in the skin. They produce greater amounts of sebum, the skin’s oil. An acne blemish occurs when this increased amount of sebum gets clogged up in the hair follicle along with dead skin cells and bacteria takes hold, cause inflammation.
Under normal circumstances the sebum or skin oil is there to lubricate and protect the skin, but once hormones present in the adrenal glands of adolescents begin to stimulate the oil glands, they produce a large quantity of sebum.
Once there is a build-up of sebum and dead cells within the follicle, the bacteria which exists on everyone’s skin but normally mind their own business, begin to feast on the build-up and multiply.
The follicle ruptures, and the surrounding tissues become inflamed. The degree to which the inflammation occurs determines the type of acne blemishes.
If the inflammation is right near the surface, a pustule is formed; if it is deeper, a papule (pimple) is formed, and if it is even deeper, you’ll see the formation of a cyst.
Comedones; Blackheads and Whiteheads
Comedones is the plural of comedo, the primary sign of acne. A comedo is simply a dilated or widened hair follicle filled with keratin squamae (skin debris), bacteria, and sebum (oil).
Comedo is the Latin word for glutton, as in ancient times people thought that the contents of a comedo were actually the remains of some kind of gluttonous worm- proof that people have been dealing with acne – not to mention squeezing their spots- for millennia!
Comedones can be open or closed. A closed comedo has an obstructed opening to the skin and may rupture, which will cause a minor inflammatory reaction in the skin- the common name for these closed Comedones is Whiteheads.
Open Comedones have a wide opening onto the surface of the skin, and are easily recognisable as they have a little cap of blackened skin debris on top caused by the oxidising of the oil by the oxygen in the air. They are commonly known as Blackheads.
Severe acne, often known as nodular acne or cystic acne, may not resolve for years and needs some very specific treatment.
Emotional Toll of Acne on Teenagers
Teenagers tend to be achingly self-conscious at the best of times, and acne outbreaks often make them feel very embarrassed, lowering their self-esteem. The emotional toll can be significant, making some teens not want to go to school or engage in social activities; some feel it prevents them finding a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Cosmetic Doctor in Dublin run an Acne Clinic to treat Teenage Acne and help to alleviate the emotional effects of the blemishes, as well as to deter scarring in later life.
Most mild cases of acne can be controlled at home by using the appropriate products as part of a daily skin care regime, but acne that ranges from moderate to severe will need a more aggressive approach. The good news is that today virtually every case of acne can be managed effectively.
To find out more about the Acne Clinic at Cosmetic Doctor Dublin
call 01 685 3100.