The occasional singular acne is probably nothing to worry about. Pimples like this come and go like an overworked employee at the bar looking for quick relief — they appear when they are most stressed, down a pint or two and then they scoot, only returning when their stress levels break the seams again. Hardly a regular.
But some acne sufferers are not dealing with that occasional pimple, but a recurring and severe case of acne that keeps coming back with a vengeance, leaving behind a war-torn complexion in its wake.
What Is Acne & What Causes It?
Acne is a disease affecting the hair shaft and follicle and the associated oil glands, called sebaceous glands, and muscle.
Depending on your age, environment, diet, medication and genetics, these glands may produce more sebum, an oily substance that helps lubricate and protect the skin, than you like. Unfortunately, sebum is a source of food for the Cutibacterium acne bacteria, otherwise known as Propionibacterium acne, that is found on the skin.
However, since acne, pimples, zits and other facial inflammation are caused by reasons beyond just bacteria having a field day with oil, sweat and dead skin, a professional may be able to definitively pinpoint just what is causing your woes and tailor a treatment to your needs.
When Is It Considered Bad Enough?
Since enlisting a professional is not the cheapest option out there, many people are conservative when it comes to battling acne. Some wait it out to see if the acne is just an isolated case and will go away eventually; some arm themselves with over-the-counter medication; some make lifestyle changes hoping that it’s just the environment.
Severe acne is marked by the presence of a multitude of blemishes, more than twenty, or several big nodules and cysts. Another type of severe acne is cystic acne where sufferers experience huge, inflamed and painful blots deep under the skin that do not go away quickly. They can persist for weeks and lead to scarring. At this point, you should or see a doctor or dermatologist.
Acne Is Not A Teenager’s Problem Only
Whether you are a teenager or one way past school-age, acne does not discriminate and affects just about anyone and everyone, some worse than others.
Many reasons are the cause and can add to the constant struggle with acne. Many adults suffer in various degrees of severity even if they are past their prime. The misconception that acne only affects teenager is because their hormones are undergoing changes and of their more active lifestyles. However, there are many other causes of acne that are more relevant to adulthood.
And you cannot grow out of acne. Even if you have bid farewell to your blemished adolescence, acne can recur no thanks to cosmetics, adult lifestyle habits, hormonal changes (in cases of high stress, pregnancy etc.) or other health issues. Acne due to hormones usually occur on the lower half of your face and the pimple tends to cover a bigger area than those in teens.
But whatever the reason is for your severe acne situation, you should get it treated as quickly and as early as you can before it leaves behind permanent scars, emotional and social damage, and potentially save you from a larger treatment bill.
How A Professional Dermatologist Can Save Your Skin
Acne comes in various forms — comedonal, cystic, papular and more — only a doctor or a dermatologist can accurately pinpoint what type of acne you are suffering from and prescribe effective treatments and medication that target the reason.
Since many cases of acne have more than one factor causing it, combination treatments that employ methods like peels, photon treatments and topical and oral medication address the acne problem in an all-rounded manner.
A skincare doctor can also help find out what are some underlying factors that could be causing the problem. He/she will look through your medical history and perform a physical check-up, including blood checks if necessary.
Debunking Some Myths
There are several misconceptions when it comes to seeking professional solutions. While some anecdotes are legitimate, they are a minority that does not represent the importance of the industry at large for people who are struggling with acne.
Some people think that treatments performed by specialists are harmful to the skin and the medications may damage the kidneys and the livers. However, the hormonal medicines and antibiotics prescribed for treatment are effective in targeting the heart of the issue. There should be no cause for concern as these prescriptions are highly-regulated and backed up by your medical records.
So perhaps you should turn your eyes to these professional skin saviours for help with your woes instead of shooting blindly with home-based treatments, over-the-counter medications and ointments, or make uncomfortable lifestyle changes that may not be effective after all.
But what you also need to consider, finally, is that your solution needs to be swift, before the acne has any chance to leave behind permanent and ugly scars.