Pimples, acne or zits are a nuisance at the best of times and traumatic at the worst. They seem to appear when (and where!) they are least wanted: before a date, important social event or just when we can’t handle another little stress in our lives. So, what are pimples and why do they form?
When people think of pimples, they often think of the typical raised, red and pus filled lesion on the face. However, pimples, or acne, can take many forms and occur in areas other than the face. Acne can be; mild, in the form of white heads and blackheads; moderate with pus type lesions; or severe with nodules and cysts lesion formation. They occur in places of sebaceous (oil produced from sebaceous glands) activity such as the face, neck, head, chest and back.
Sebaceous glands occur near the shaft of hairs. During times of increased hormone activity, sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce more oil. This is why teenagers, pre-menstrual women and persons using androgens have higher incidences of acne. Genetics and skin type also play a role in the oiliness of skin.
The pores where the hair exits the skin can become blocked by skin or product, trapping the oil in the skin. This is what we often see as whiteheads (called closed comedones) and blackheads (open comedones). Sometimes bacteria colonise in the oil and this results in a small skin infection that leads to infected type lesions.
Serious Acne is Means Someone is Unclean
Though antibiotics can be used to help clear up some acne lesions, this is simply not true. People with immaculate skin health routines can still experience even severe acne. Remember, genetics and skin type play a role in the formation of acne.
Propionibacterium acne is the bacteria linked with the formation of acne. It loves to feed on the fatty, oily acids of skin sebum and its excretion of propionic acid (and other enzymes) is linked with skin inflammation. This inflammation can lead to opportunistic infections from other commonly present bacteria such as staphylococcus. It is commonly found on the skin, but is also found near the eyes, spine and digestive tract.
When Should You See a Dermatologist?
Mild acne can be managed with an at home skin routine. If your acne is causing you emotional distress, pain, scarring or is not clearing up with an at home skin routine, you should see a skin health professional. There are many topical and oral treatments out there that can greatly improve, and help manage, your acne.
If you have questions about how to care for your skin make an appointment to see our skincare specialists. Contact Us Today!