Jinja: Acne, a common skin problem caused by clogged hair follicles due to a buildup of hair and dead skin cells, can affect individuals of all races. While acne is most prevalent among adolescents and young adults, it can occur at any age.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin ailment worldwide, with an estimated 9.4% of the global population affected. Although acne can impact people of all ethnicities and ages, it tends to be more prevalent in teenagers, with males being more susceptible than females. However, acne can persist into adulthood, and women are more likely to experience it during this phase of life.
Acne can manifest on various parts of the body, but the face, neck, back, shoulders, and chest are the most commonly affected areas, as reported by healthline.com. Pimples can give the skin a rough and uneven appearance, accompanied by skin pigmentation such as black spots or patches, redness, swelling, and inflammation. Pimples can also be painful and tender to the touch.
Dr. Kizza Blair from Aga Khan University Hospital explains that acne develops due to excessive oil production, hormonal changes, and inflammation caused by the rupture of follicle walls. Hormonal changes, adolescence, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, certain medical conditions, and family history can exacerbate acne.
“Physical examination of the skin is often the primary method of diagnosing acne. Based on its severity, doctors may classify acne as mild, moderate, or severe. They also assess the various types of lesions present, such as comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts,” explains Dr. Kizza.
Although acne is primarily considered a cosmetic concern, it can lead to various issues. Dark spots or patches may persist for months after acne lesions have healed. In severe cases, scarring can occur, which may result in permanent marks like rolling, icepick, or boxcar scars. Acne can also have a significant impact on an individual’s psychological well-being, causing anxiety, sadness, and social withdrawal.
Dr. Kizza suggests that individuals with acne should adopt good skincare practices to prevent acne breakouts. These include gentle daily cleansing, avoiding aggressive scrubbing, refraining from touching the face, using non-comedogenic or oil-free products, and resisting the urge to squeeze or pick at pimples. These measures help minimize further inflammation, infection, and scarring.
Additionally, Dr. Kizza highlights that certain dietary factors may influence the development of acne. Consuming low-glycemic index foods such as fruits and vegetables, moderating intake, and incorporating omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fatty fish can be beneficial. Anti-inflammatory measures, such as stress management and adequate sleep, may also help reduce acne symptoms.
In terms of treatment options, Dr. Kizza suggests using over-the-counter creams, gels, or lotions containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids. These products can help reduce acne-causing bacteria, unclog pores, and promote skin cell turnover. In moderate to severe cases, prescription medications like antibiotics or hormonal therapy may be recommended. Dermatological procedures and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and stress management can also contribute to improving overall skin health.
By adopting these effective strategies for treating skin pimples, individuals can proactively manage acne, reduce its impact on their lives, and achieve clearer, healthier skin.