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Acne - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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Acne is a condition that affects many women and men, especially during the teenage years and is caused when pores on the skin are blocked with sebum and dead skin cells.

Learn more about acne symptoms and acne treatments. We can help you fight future breakouts and feel better about your skin. It’s time to get rid of acne for good.

If you feel you would like a consultation contact us 0121 514 2385 for a free appointment in our Birmingham clinic.

What Is Acne

Acne can be classified as several types. The most common form of acne spots, while severe forms can include nodules, cysts, and nodules. Acne is a common skin condition that causes pimples or “pimples” to form on the skin, usually on the face or other areas of the body but it is most common on the face, back, chest, and arms. Acne is common among teenagers and young adults and affects an estimated 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 at some point. Acne can also affect older adults.

Acne can be classified as several types.

Types of Acne

First, there is the kind that is caused by hormonal changes related to puberty and the menstrual cycle-this type of acne is the most common.

Second, acne can be caused by environmental factors (e.g., exposure to oil, bacteria or dust), makeup or creams that block pores and cause pimples.

The third type of acne is cystic acne, which occurs when a pore becomes clogged and infected, causing a red and tender bump to form. In addition to these three types of acne, there are many subtypes of acne.

For example, comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) can be considered one subtype. Another subtype would include papules (red bumps), pustules (pus-filled bumps), nodules (large bumps) and cysts (painful/red/tender bumps). Regardless of the type, treatment will depend on the severity and the type of the condition.

Symptoms Of Acne

The symptoms of acne can vary greatly from one person to another. Some people develop only a few blackheads, and no other symptoms. Other people get lots of spots, which can be painful as well as embarrassing.

Most people who have acne notice that their skin is greasy, especially in the T-zone (across the forehead and down the bridge of the nose). There may be large pores, particularly on the nose. The skin may have a shiny appearance. A few people have very sensitive skin and may experience mild burning or stinging after using certain cosmetics or facial products.

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Whiteheads & Blackheads

Whiteheads and blackheads are two of the most common types of acne. Both are caused by oil glands in the skin.  Closed comedones, also called whiteheads, are small bumps that form when oil and dead skin cells clog the openings of hair follicles. They are not open or exposed to the air, so they don’t contain visible bacteria. Closed comedones tend to be larger than blackheads. They are usually less noticeable than blackheads because they’re not dark.

Whiteheads can be treated with topical creams and serums that contain retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid.A dermatologist may also treat closed comedones with chemical peels or microdermabrasion. 

Blackheads are a form of acne vulgaris. Open comedones also called Blackheads occur when excess sebum and dead skin cells plug the opening to the pore. Although blackheads give the appearance that they are dirt or dust filled, they are not.

In fact, over-washing can aggravate this condition. Often, treatment with facial scrubs and soaps will only make the skin more oily causing an increase in blackheads. If you have blackheads on your skin, avoid scrubbing too hard or picking at them. The best way to get rid of blackheads is to prevent them in the first place by keeping your pores clear of excess oils. This can be accomplished with regular cleansing using products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.


Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is a more serious condition, causing inflammation and swelling on the skin. The skin cells and sebum that clog the pores are responsible for the inflammation. When this occurs, the resulting inflamed red bumps are known as papules. Inflammatory acne is a relatively new condition in which large inflamed breakouts, usually on the face, occur after an initial outbreak of pimples. The cause is not clear, but it is believed to be due to hypersensitivity to external irritants such as certain soaps, shampoos, or even foods like broccoli.

Most people think it is caused by the way people dress, eat or wash their faces. For example, if you have ever had an outbreak of acne that cleared up when you stopped washing your face with soap and water, and when you started again returned with a vengeance, then you are most likely suffering from inflammatory acne.

When this happens your face becomes more sensitive to some common external irritants such as oils and soaps. So these things may be irritating the pimples and causing them to become inflamed again.

Acne Categorized by Severity

Regardless of the type, treatment will depend on the severity and the type of the condition. The severity of a case of acne can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. This is determined by

  1. the number and extent of inflammatory lesions.
  2. the number and extent of noninflammatory lesions.
  3. the degree of psychological distress experienced by the patient.


Mild Acne

In cases of mild acne there are few inflammatory lesions (<20), few to several noninflammatory lesions (10-40), and minimal or no scarring.

Closed comedones are the least severe form of acne. They can occur in the same spots as blackheads and can be difficult to treat. 


Moderate Acne

In cases of moderate acne there are several inflammatory lesions (20-100), many noninflammatory lesions (40-100), and possibly some scarring.


Severe Acne

In cases of severe acne there are many inflammatory lesions (>100), extensive noninflammatory lesions, and extensive scarring.

Nodules are the most severe type of acne. Although these are the most obvious symptoms of the condition, they are not always visible. The whiteheads are small, flat lesions that appear as a lump on the face.

If you have severe acne, however, your acne treatment options will be much more limited. While topical products are available over the counter (OTC) or through your dermatologist, oral antibiotics must be prescribed to prevent the infection from spreading.

Speak to Us About Acne Treatment

Despite the fact that it can be hard to treat, acne is not an ailment to be ashamed of. Most cases of acne are harmless, but there are many ways to treat the condition. If you’re looking for a cure for acne seek my expert help at Dr Majid Shah Aesthetics Birmingham.

I have performed more than 4,000 treatments for people in Birmingham and London. I can use my expertise to help you address the problem of excessive sweating and develop a plan to help you tackle your problem head-on, and set you on your way to getting your confidence back for good.

“The confidence boost is amazing. I cannot recommend Dr Shah highly enough to anybody who is thinking about having a non surgical procedure”

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It usually peaks around 12 to 15, although it affects some people into their 20s or even later. The problem is that this time of life is also when a person’s self-esteem starts to really matter.

Pumpkin seeds, nuts, and fish all contain L-arginine, an amino acid that helps improve blood flow. This can help reduce inflammation and swelling around acne lesions.

The relationship between stress and acne is not completely understood. However, stress may play a role in the development of acne by triggering physiological responses that lead to worsening of acne symptoms.