Causes, Symptoms and Side Effects of Acne

Acne is the most common skin diseases characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules (pus-filled spots). It affects teenagers as well as adults, with a possibility to cause long-lasting physical and psychosocial effects.

Causes of Acne

Acne causes continue to be investigated by experts, but even after decades of research, there are no definite answers. It appears that when acne occurs, your sebaceous glands (oil glands) are overactive. Normally, these glands produce small amounts of sebum (a thick mixture of oil and skin cells). When you have acne, these glands produce extra sebum, which blocks your follicles and the acne causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) move in.

Hormones can cause flare-ups of acne, or raise the number of acne you get. The hormones that are active at puberty stage also trigger your oil glands to produce sebum. The hormones that affect the oil glands are androgens (the male hormones). Both male and female have androgens, but the male has more.

In females, these hormones can also cause acne during the menstrual cycle, and this is the reason behind the occurrence of acne in adulthood. Hormones present in some contraceptive pills can also cause an outbreak of a pimple.

There isn’t any evidence that conclusively shows acne is caused by eating fast food and chocolate. Restricting certain food items may be a big struggle that has little or no effect on the formation of acne. Oily hair also doesn’t cause acne, but they are often a sign of overactive oil glands, which results in acne. According to clinical studies, stress may worsen existing acne, but it does not initiate the formation of acne.

Following are the things that can irritate your skin and cause acne:

  • Certain cosmetic products
  • Rubbing or friction from your clothes
  • Family history of acne
  • Exposure of skin to extremely hot and cold temperatures
  • Skin contact with certain sports equipment
  • Contact with a pet’s tongue (e.g., a friendly lick)

Taking medications such as corticosteroids may also cause an acne-like condition.

Acne Symptoms and Complications

  • Blackheads- black spots appeared about the size of a pinhead
  • Whiteheads- white spots that are quite similar to blackheads
  • Pustules –These appear as small pus-filled lesions
  • Papules-Small red bumps
  • Crusting of skin bumps
  • Scarring of the skin
  • Redness and inflammation developed around eruptions
  • A severe form of acne called cysts that are defined by larger, firm swellings in the skin
  • Another severe form of acne called abscesses that are defined by tender, inflamed, and swollen areas of infection containing pus.

Side Effects of Oral Acne Medications

Doxycycline, tetracycline, and minocycline belong to the same class of drugs and have several common side effects. If you experience any of the following, please discontinue them and visit your healthcare specialist if you feel:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn or stomach pain
  • Darkening of scars
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Irritation of the esophagus
  • Nail changes
  • Joint pains

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