A consulting dermatologist at Federal Medical Center, Abuja, Dr Haroun Adamu, discusses acne, in this interview with TOLUWALOPE KAREEM
What is acne?
Acne is a very common skin condition that occurs when the pores of the skin become clogged with dead skin, oil, and bacteria. This results in all types of pimples, whether white or black. It is quite common. About 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 would develop acne at some point in their life.
What are the causes of acne?
The underlying cause of acne is the blockage of pores or holes on the surface of the skin by the build-up of oil, bacteria, and dead skin. People believe that things like potato chips, milk, chocolates contribute to acne, but there is no scientific evidence for this. However, certain changes can occur in a person’s life that contribute to acne breakouts or pimples, including the hormonal changes that occur when a child enters puberty. In addition, the use of hormonal drugs such as contraceptives, the consumption of sweet foods. Usually all of this can trigger acne. Pregnancy, which is associated with hormonal changes, can help trigger acne.
How is he diagnosed?
Acne is usually diagnosed by what we doctors call a clinical assessment. The doctor examines the skin and looks for signs of pimples, such as blackheads, lumps, etc., or acne scars. A test is hardly necessary to diagnose acne.
How to best treat acne?
There are many methods to treat acne. Most of the time, we use a combination of two or three methods. We use topical creams, topical or oral antibiotics, or hormonal tablets. Sometimes we combine these treatments with chemical peels or we use light therapy. Acne is treated on an individual basis, depending on the severity. Some are mild, some are associated with pigmentation, some are associated with scarring, and some develop keloids as a complication.
All forms of acne can be treated, although some forms of acne can be difficult like hormonal acne, lumpy acne, pustular acne, and some forms of treatment may not be successful, but when you take all of them the forms of treatment available, be it creams, tablets, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, you can hardly find any type of acne that is not treatable. There can be challenges with treating certain types of acne, especially if for some reason you are not able to use one or more of the forms of treatment that we have. In this case, it can be a challenge. For example, if you react to a certain tablet because of a medical problem, you cannot take a tablet or use certain creams because you have sensitive skin. With the services of a professional and qualified dermatologist, you will be able to overcome the disease.
How long does it take to process it?
The time it takes to treat acne varies; he must be given time to work, at least four weeks. It may be shorter, but the usual time is four to six weeks to see improvement. It can also take up to three months; it is very variable depending on the severity and the nature of the acne.
If acne is left untreated, can it go away on its own?
Yes, a lot of acne goes away on its own, especially when a person goes through puberty it heals and goes away on its own, but remember that many people carry their acne into adulthood as well. There is acne that begins in adulthood, that is, people who did not have acne as a teenager but now develop it as an adult.
What are the factors that make acne worse that people don’t know?
There are factors that can make acne worse that people are not aware of. Such factors include frequent changes of creams or medications, especially in the context of self-mediation. Doing this puts the skin under pressure. Another thing is improper makeup removal or the use of any used hair cream or ointment can roll on your forehead and face and cause acne. Other factors that can trigger acne are hair removal; foods rich in carbohydrates and sugary foods. Other factors are heavy makeup, excessive use of skin care products, and anti-acne treatment.
Is it true that factors like stress, makeup, fatty foods, dirty skin can cause acne?
The truth is, stress, makeup, greasy food, dirty skin can trigger and make acne worse. Stress makes acne worse by increasing your stress hormone level and can block pores. Heavy makeup will not allow the skin to breathe, which can make acne worse. For oily foods and dirty skin, of course, when you don’t wash your skin, dirt and bacteria build up, which can block pores and make acne worse. These are not really myths; they can contribute to and worsen your acne.
People have said that using urine to wash your face cures acne, is that right?
Scientifically, I am not aware that washing your face with urine can cure acne; people who do this should better avoid such practices, and there are dermatologists trained in the care and treatment of acne. If you have acne, you should see a dermatologist who is qualified and trained to manage your acne. There is absolutely no proof of this and I don’t think it is healthy, so people should steer clear of such practices. Urine is waste from the body and should not be used to treat acne or any other medical condition.
How true is it that aloe vera and apple cider are effective in treating acne?
Well, aloe vera has a potential role to play in skin lightening and acne prevention; it calms and hydrates the face. But on its own, it is not certain that it can cure acne. There is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar can treat acne. It contains acids like lactic acid, acetic acid, etc. This may theoretically make it useful for killing propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria involved in the causation of AS. But practically, the use of ACV to treat acne, especially at home, predisposes the user to irritation and burns only when used in high concentration.
How Effective Is Self-Care In Treating Acne?
Self-care for mild acne can work if the carrier is knowledgeable enough about the dos and don’ts, and if the over-the-counter products are ethical and scientifically proven to work. The best results are, of course, always obtained by consulting a dermatologist.
Many people experience emotional and mental stress from acne; what do you recommend?
It is true that severe acne, even mild, has a lot of effects and can impact the quality of life and the way people see themselves. It can lead to anxiety and depression, but it shouldn’t be. Acne in most cases is treatable; It is important for people with acne to consult qualified professionals to relieve mental stress and regain self-confidence.
Acne causes people to lose self-esteem or feel stigmatized; what is your advice for them?
People with acne shouldn’t feel stigmatized, they should channel their energy and resources to get the best treatment and care for their skin. The feeling of stigma is not necessary. See a dermatologist, be patient with your treatment and acne can be overcome. Acne scars following treatment are of course more difficult, but the acne itself shouldn’t cause stigma. Yes, it is true that sufferers experience low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, loss of confidence and this has been proven in several studies, both inside and outside the body. Nigeria. Our society attaches great importance to the appearance, and acne on the face is difficult to hide. You find that people with acne avoid meetings, avoid group photos or âselfiesâ. It shouldn’t be. Find a dermatologist who understands your emotional angst and responds to it with empathy while your acne is being treated.
What are the basic tips for preventing acne?
There are some basic tips that can help prevent acne, such as staying clean and exercising regularly. If you have discovered any foods that tend to make your acne worse, you should avoid them. Repeated touching of your face and popping pimples is not good, it makes the condition worse. Don’t go to bed with your makeup on. Avoid excessive use of acne medications by jumping from one set of medications to another without medical supervision. Avoid using unknown or unproven blended creams. Seek professional help when you have acne.
Can acne be genetic?
Certain hereditary factors can make a person susceptible to the development of acne. One example is polycystic ovary syndrome, which results in hormonal imbalance. It can be familial and when you inherit this syndrome you also have a strong tendency to develop acne associated with PCOS. PCOS is a complex metabolic hormonal imbalance, but one of its manifestations is the development and disposition to acne. We can also inherit an immune system unable to manage the bacteria involved in the formation of acne. If you inherit an immune system that cannot handle it, you may be predisposed to acne. Again, chances are, if you have one or both of your parents who have or have had acne, there is a tendency for you to have acne as well. But in terms of direct gene transfer or a direct gene that will predispose you to acne, there is no such gene. Your acne is an interaction of several factors.
Does acne have a relation with age?
Yes, there is a relationship with acne and age. Girls start to have acne between the ages of 14 and 17 and boys between the ages of 16 and 19. Of course, people have acne for a number of years before it starts to go away. Most of the time, acne starts to go away when a person is in their mid-twenties. In some cases, acne can reach adulthood. There are cases of acne that start in adulthood in their thirties and sometimes their forties.
What happens if acne is left untreated?
It can go away, it can get worse and it can lead to scarring, pigmentation or keloids, it depends.
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