Acne is a blockage of the sebum glands due to excessive sebum production and cornification disorder. This creates blackheads (comedones) and pimples.

Definition

Boy with acne

Doctors distinguish between mild, superficial acne and more severe, deep acne with inflamed lumps deep under the skin. Deep acne often leads to scarring, while superficial acne only leads to scars if it is treated incorrectly (“pushing around”). Very often, acne develops during puberty and then heals without treatment; however, there are also 25-30 year old acne patients. It usually affects the face, chest, back and shoulders, sometimes only a few of these areas.

Causes

  • Hormonal changes during puberty, sometimes during your period or during pregnancy.
  • Blackhead bacterial infection.
  • Unsuitable, too fatty, comedogenic cosmetics (cosmetics that irritate the skin to form blackheads).
  • Certain drugs or chemicals (e.g. chlorine).
  • Whether nutrition plays a role is controversial.

Treatment

Medical therapy

  • Prescription of strongly peeling ointments
  • Prescription of an antibiotic, hormone preparations (e.g. birth control pills) or vitamin A acid tablets.

Self Help: What You Can Do About Acne

  • Wash the skin twice a day with an acne-suitable, mildly disinfectant soap or washing lotion.
  • Do not squeeze the skin as this will only make the inflammation worse. Blackheads can be softened with hot water compresses and then carefully opened with a comedone squeezer.
  • Sunlight can relieve acne.
  • Use special acne cosmetics.
  • Apply antiseptic or drying creams or gels, e.g. with benzoyl peroxide.
  • If the skin is inflamed, apply soothing compresses or masks (chamomile, healing earth).
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