Thursday, 19 March 2020

New research outlines advice for coping with acne

Acne is a common skin condition, affecting people at different ages, and one that can wreak havoc with your self-esteem and often appears at the worst possible time. New research identifies some strategies for dealing with the condition.

To help to increase the knowledge around the condition of acne, the website eMediHealth has completed an in-depth survey about the skin condition acne. To arrive at the findings, 64 dermatologists participated in the research (including those based in the U.S., U.K. Canada and Australia). The research output reveals some interesting facts about acne, as well as common mistakes people make while attempting to deal with the condition.

Acne vulgaris refers to a long-term skin disease, which arises when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. There is also a probable association with the anaerobic bacterium Cutibacterium acnes, in that increased sebum production creates an environment that can sustain the colonization of the bacterium. The condition is often a source of discomfort for people and it is connected with mental health issues, such as low self-esteem.

Why acne occurs

The research produced a number of interesting findings about acne. The first relates to the most common skin type associated with the condition. Here the overwhelming majority (92.1 percent) of the dermatologists connected the condition to oily skin. This is because those with oily skin tend to have overactive oil glands that produce excessive sebum.

As to why certain people have a tendency to develop acne, hormonal imbalance was stated to play a major role in the development of acne and was identified as the top trigger for acne, Other causative factors were identified as high levels of stress and excessive sugar intake.

However, other factors that have been commonly associated with the development of acne, like smoking (20.31 percent), pollution (17.18 percent), and dust (7.81 percent), were rated low by the experts.

In terms of the after-effects of acne, more than half (55 percent) of the participants in the study held the view that the risk of scarring largely depends on the type of acne, and 28 percent believed that it depends on both the type of acne and the medication used to treat it. Generally, inflammatory acne is viewed as more likely to lead to scarring compared with non-inflammatory acne.

Dealing with acne

In terms of strategies for dealing with acne, ensuring that all make-up is thoroughly removed was found to be important. With this issue, 70.31 percent of the dermatologists emphasized the importance of removing every trace of makeup before a person with acne goes to bed. This is necessary so that the skin can breathe easily while the person sleeps.

Another factor to take into consideration for minimizing acne relates to skin cleaning. 78.13 percent cited that excessive skin cleaning, along with scrubbing, represents a common mistake made by patients with acne.

Where acne is severe, the dermatologists stressed the importance of seeking advice. With this issue, 79.69 percent said that too many patients with acne usually make the error of not seeking dermatological help, which can worsen their condition.

With standard acne treatments, isotretinoin and retinoids (medications that are derived from vitamin A) emerged as clear favorites among the dermatologists, each registering 75 percent of the votes.

As a word of warning for those with acne considering self-medicating, the overall effectiveness of home remedies for acne was deemed to be low. This means those looking for quick solutions through unverified treatments or remedies should take care. A total of 46.88 percent of the dermatologists stated that none of the ‘alternative’ remedies are likely to yield any significant results, and only 3.13 percent felt that the listed acne remedies may be helpful in some way.

Of these alternatives, witch hazel topped the list with 17.9 percent of the votes, followed by essential oils, which were recommended by 15.63 percent of the respondents.

For people with mild acne, the advice is to speak to a pharmacist or seek advice from a dermatologist about the appropriate medicines to treat it. For those with severe acne, advice from a medical practitioner should be sought.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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