What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition. It primarily affects teenagers. Nevertheless, it can take place in people of any age. Such a condition results when the pores of the skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It can lead to the development of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne lesions. These lesions may cause discomfort and cosmetic concerns. However, suitable acne treatment can relieve your condition.

What are the symptoms of acne?

Its symptoms vary depending on the type of lesion. Blackheads and whiteheads may cause mild irritation or itchiness. Papules and pustules may be tender to the touch and cause a burning sensation. On the other hand, nodules and cysts are larger, more severe lesions that can be painful.

What causes acne?

In the simplest terms, acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. However, dirt does not result in such skin disease. Sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles within the skin. They are responsible for producing sebum that lubricates your hair and skin. Sebum passes through the opening of a hair follicle onto the surface of your skin. Here, it travels to the opening of a nearby pore. The sebum mixes with sloughed-off skin cells and travels to the surface of your skin. Normal sebum production is a vital part of maintaining healthy skin. However, too much sebum can accumulate in pores and cause pimples. You must look for effective acne treatment if your symptoms go severe.

How do blackheads and whiteheads occur?

When dirt and dead skin cells clog a pore, a comedo (“whitehead”) takes place. If a comedo is open to the air, the skin surface darkens and results in a blackhead. On the other hand, if sebum and bacteria accumulate in a pore, an inflammatory lesion called a pustule occurs. Pustules are often red at the base and have a white or yellow center. Conversely, nodules are large, solid lesions that form under the skin condition. They become inflamed and can cause severe pain when touched or manipulated. Cystic lesions are large, pus-filled lesions. They develop deep beneath your skin in a process similar to a nodule. In addition, cysts have a thick wall or capsule that separates them from healthy tissue.

What are the different types of acne?

There are several types of acne lesions. Blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts are such lesions. Some of them can go away with mild remedies. However, some like nodules and cysts require immediate and powerful acne treatment.

  • Blackheads

Blackheads are a mild form of acne. They appear as darkened areas on the skin. These types of pimples form when sebum and sloughed-off cells build up in the opening of a hair follicle. This causes it to bulge out from the skin. The air reacts with this mixture, causing the surface of the blackhead to darken and become a blackhead.

  • Whiteheads

Whiteheads are another mild form of acne. They appear as small, firm, and white bumps on the skin. These types of pimples form when sebum and sloughed-off cells build up in the opening of a hair follicle. However, they do not lump out from the skin. The air does not react with this mixture, causing the surface of the whitehead to stay white.

  • Papules

Papules are small, red bumps on the skin. They result due to inflamed hair follicles. These types of acne often have a pearl-like appearance. Moreover, they can be tender to the touch. Such types of pimples need immediate acne treatment.

  • Pustules

Pustules are round and firm bumps that appear on the skin. The top of a pustule is filled with liquid pus. It can drain through the opening of a hair follicle. These types of pimples often have an appearance similar to acne cysts. However, they form under the skin surface and do not have a cyst-like opening.

  • Nodules

Nodules are large, solid bumps that form under the skin surface. They have a pointed appearance. Nodules often appear along the chin and lower cheeks. However, they can also occur on other parts of the face. These types of acne are more severe than papules or pustules. It is because they form deep within the skin.

  • Cysts

Cysts are large, pus-filled lesions that appear under the skin surface. They often have a thick wall or capsule that separates them from healthy tissue. In addition, these types of pimples can be painful when touched. They may harm underlying tissues if they break open and leak into the skin.

Cysts can vary in size and may become inflamed or infected. They are painful and can leave you with blemishes. Nevertheless, you should consult with your dermatologist for suitable acne treatment as soon as possible.

How can you get rid of acne?

There are a few things you can do to get rid of pimples. Some people find they need to change their diet to see results. Conversely, others use natural remedies. Some find tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar better than traditional treatments. However, you can also try over-the-counter remedies such as like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If you still face trouble getting rid of your pimples, you may see a dermatologist.

What are some acne creams available in the UK?

There are some acne creams available in the UK. Some of them include the following-

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Salicylic Acid                                                        
  • Sulfur Creams
  • Retinoids

Each cream has its benefits and drawbacks. Nevertheless, it is significant to speak with a healthcare professional to determine which acne cream is best for you.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide Creams

This remedy works by killing the bacteria that cause acne. It also helps to reduce the amount of free fatty acids on the skin. They may contribute to acne breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide lotions or creams are available in two strengths, 2.5%, and 5%. However, do not use this acne treatment on broken skin. It may irritate your skin.

How does benzoyl peroxide work?

Benzoyl peroxide is a frequent pimple treatment. It destroys the bacteria that cause acne. Moreover, it also helps to dry out the skin. This remedy can reduce the number of acne lesions.

Is benzoyl peroxide safe?

Yes, benzoyl peroxide is generally safe to use. However, it can cause side effects like dryness, itching, and redness of the skin. It can also bleach your clothes or bed sheets.

How do you use benzoyl peroxide?

Some forms of this treatment come as a gel, cream, or lotion. You can apply it directly to the areas of your skin with acne two times a day. However, you should use a generous amount and rub the gel or cream into your skin gently.

  • Salicylic Acid Creams

The general mechanism for this acne treatment includes softening the hard skin that forms around a blocked pore. It prevents plugging up pores that can lead to acne. Salicylic acid creams are available over the counter in concentrations of 0.5% to 2%. However, higher concentrations may be available by prescription.

How does salicylic acid work?

Salicylic acid is another remedy that can help to dry out the skin. It helps to reduce the number of acne lesions on your skin. Moreover, it also can help break down blackheads and whiteheads.

Is salicylic acid safe?

Yes, salicylic acid is generally safe to use. However, it can cause side effects like dryness, itching, and redness of the skin.

How do you use salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid can come in many forms. They include creams, lotions, pads, and face washes. Use it once a day to avoid unnecessary irritation of the skin. In addition, it is vital to avoid getting the product on other areas of your body. It can irritate.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your condition. They may be able to recommend a treatment that is best suited for your needs.

  • Sulfur Creams

This type of acne treatment is a keratolytic agent, meaning it dissolves keratin. Keratin is a protein that makes up the majority of the epidermis. Without keratin, new cells tend to be flakey. Moreover, old cells do not shed as quickly, leading to some forms of acne. A sulfur cream works by accelerating the shedding process. Therefore, dead skin does not clog pores.

How to use sulfur creams?

Sulfur creams can be applied to the entire face or just to the affected areas. Some people experience skin irritation when using sulfur creams. Therefore, start with a low concentration and increase as needed. Use the cream for a count of one or two a day. Let it be dried fully before using any other products.

Sulfur creams are an effective acne treatment. However, they can treat psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and other skin conditions. If you are experiencing any skin irritation, discontinue and consult your doctor.

  • Retinoids

This type of cream is a derivative of vitamin A and helps to normalize skin cell turnover. It can help prevent pores from becoming clogged. Moreover, retinoids may reduce the severity of acne lesions. Retinoids are available by prescription in 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1% concentrations. However, higher concentrations may be available for more severe cases of acne.

How to use retinoids?

Retinoids should be used at night. It is because they can make your skin more responsive to the sun. Retinoids are usually applied once a day, directly to the acne lesions. However, some people may experience skin irritation while using this remedy. Reduce the frequency of use or discontinue use if the irritation persists.

What is the most effective at-home acne treatment?

Acne is a chronic disease. It should be treated under the supervision of a dermatologist or any other skin specialist. There are different types of treatment modalities available for acne. Moreover, every treatment has its advantages and drawbacks.

What works for one person might not work for another, and what works for acne on your face may not work on acne in other places such as your back or shoulders. In addition, even if a home remedy does work, it might only work for a short period. You might need to do it in combination with other treatments.

Here are some of the most commonly used home remedies for acne-

  • Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is one of the oldest and most popular home remedies for acne. It has antibacterial properties. You can apply tree tea oil directly to acne lesions. It helps clear the skin and is used as a facial cleanser.

  • Lemon juice

Lemon juice is high in vitamin C. Moreover, it promotes collagen production, heals the skin, and helps in acne treatment. You can use lemon juice directly to the acne area. It’s a natural skin lightener. Therefore, it can be helpful for those with darker skin tones.

  • Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another popular home remedy, which has been used for thousands of years as both a food and as a medicine. It helps to kill bacteria. Moreover, ACV balances the pH of the skin. It can be applied directly to acne lesions or diluted with water and used as a facial cleanser.

  • Honey

Honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Moreover, it is also a natural humectant, which draws moisture to the skin. It can be applied directly to acne lesions or used as a mask.

  • Brown sugar

Brown sugar helps exfoliate dead skin cells and remove dirt, oil, and bacteria. You can use it for acne on the back or other areas that are hard to reach during regular washing.

  • Oatmeal

Oatmeal is great for calming and soothing the skin. You can prepare a blend of oatmeal and water. Moreover, you can buy premade oatmeal masks for this purpose.

  • Baking soda

Baking soda maintains the pH of the skin. When mixed with water, it also acts as an exfoliating agent to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Baking soda can bring effective results in acne treatment.

How can you prevent acne?

There are a few ways you can prevent acne from developing. Some of the effective ones are-

  • Rinse your face twice a day with a mild cleanser.
  • Avoid touching your face; it can spread bacteria and dirt to your skin. Use oil-free makeup and skincare products.
  • Limit your sun exposure, as ultraviolet rays can make acne worse.