Discover the causes, treatments and tips to fight acne

Acne is one of the most common cosmetic problems we dermatologists face due to its high incidence and the fact that it mainly affects the most visible areas of the body, such as the face and décolleté. Although it can appear at any stage of life, it is more frequent during adolescence and in women of childbearing age.

It is estimated that acne affects approximately 9.4% of the world’s population. In adulthood, an estimated 3% to 6% of people continue to experience acne.

Acne is mainly caused by an inflammation of the sebaceous glands of the skin, and this can be caused by different factors. Firstly, there is an increase in sebum production; secondly, there is a blockage of the pore that prevents sebum from coming to the surface properly; and, thirdly, there may be a superinfection of the not properly drained oil, where the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes plays an important role. Therefore, acne treatments focus on regulating some of these factors. In addition to genetic and hormonal causes, there are other factors that can trigger or worsen acne outbreaks, such as stress or a diet rich in industrial fats and sugars.

Acne tends to appear mainly on the face, but is also common on the décolleté and back, and can even appear in areas such as the groin, armpits or buttocks. Characteristic lesions of acne include red pimples, pus-filled pimples, blackheads and tiny white cysts. Over time, different types of acne scars may develop, such as red, brown, sunken or cystic scars.

It is important to note that acne is not always associated with oily skin; sometimes it can occur on dry or sensitive skin. Therefore, the daily care to treat acne is not the same for everyone, and it is necessary to identify both the skin type and the type of acne and its degree of severity to determine the appropriate approach.

Acne treatment is based on regulating the factors that cause inflammation of the sebaceous glands. Proper hygiene is essential, using a mild soap specifically for acne-prone skin. In addition, medical treatments that may include retinoids, glycolic acid, topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide are often required to remove comedones and prevent new lesions.
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In cases of more severe inflammatory acne, oral antibiotics, oral contraceptives (in women) and anti-androgens may be prescribed. In situations where other treatments have been insufficient, oral isotretinoin may be an effective option, but requires close monitoring and follow-up due to possible side effects.

Once acne is under control, chemical peels can be considered to improve scarring and achieve a more uniform appearance to the skin. Glycolic and salicylic acid peels are the most commonly used, and are recommended during the fall and winter to avoid sun exposure.

In summary, acne is a common cosmetic problem that affects many people, but there is no need to waste time with products that do not provide significant improvements. We strongly recommend that you consult a dermatologist at the first signs of acne, as it is essential to receive an accurate diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment. Every skin is different and may require specific care, so seeking the advice of a professional is key to achieving healthy, blemish-free skin.