What is it?
Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms. It commonly occurs during puberty, when the sebaceous glands activate, but it can occur at any age. It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars. The glands produce oil and are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands in both males and females.
What are the symptoms?
- The most common symptoms that acne causes include:
- Blackheads, or small black dots on the skin, usually around the nose, forehead or chin. These are also called “comedones” and result from debris getting trapped inside of a follicle.
- Whiteheads, which can form when pus builds under the skin and forms a “head”. These result from follicles getting clogged with sebum and dead skin cells.
- Papules and pustules (the technical name for pimples) which cause small or medium sized bumps on the skin that are round, red and don’t always have a visible “head”. These are caused by “moderate” types of acne and are not as severe as cysts or nodules. (5)
- Cysts or nodules, which are severe pimples that are infected and painful. They can form within deeper layers of the skin, become very swollen or tender, and take longer to heal then papules and pustules.
- Dark spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation).
- Scars, most often left behind from nodules or cysts, especially if they have been “popped” or picked.
- Increased sensitivity to products, heat, sweat and sunlight.
- Decreased self esteem, self consciousness, anxiety and depression.
- Eat healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Drink green tea.
- Apply chilled cucumber juice on affected area for 15 minutes then wash.
- Prepare a mixture with equal amounts of raw honey and powdered nutmeg. Apply it on the affected area, leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse it off with water.
- For severe acne, mix 1 tablespoon of tomato juice, a few drops of lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of raw honey. Apply the mixture on the affected area with a cotton ball. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.
- Apply a mask of turmeric, yoghurt, honey and rose water, wash with warm water after 20 minutes.
- Rub a paste made of oatmeal and rosewater in a circular motion on the affected area for 5 minutes then wash with warm water. Oatmeal pack can be applied twice a week on the face also.
- Cut open a leaf of an aloe vera plant and remove the gel. Apply this pure gel on the affected area. Repeat twice daily.
- Do not scrub your skin, as it can make acne worse.
- Do not pick, pop or squeeze your acne, as it may delay the healing process.
- Keep your hands off your face.
- Stay out of the sun and avoid tanning beds.
- Do not use too much makeup and never go to bed without removing your makeup.
Things to watch out for
If your acne is making you feel very unhappy or you can’t control your spots with over-the-counter medication, see your GP. Also see your GP if you develop nodules or cysts, as they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring. Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze the spots, as this can lead to permanent scarring.