Acne is a chronic skin condition which causes spots and pimples mostly on the face, and also the upper arms, back, shoulders, neck and chest. It is one of the most widespread skin conditions in the world, affecting more than 80% of the population from ages 11 to 30.
Unbeknownst to most, acne severity is determined by grade. The higher the grade, the more serious the condition.
Grade 1: Mild (Whiteheads And Blackheads)
Mostly confined to whiteheads and blackheads, with a few papules (red/pink dome shaped bumps) and pustules (dome shaped bumps with yellowish liquid and white center).
They occur when pores are clogged by excess waxy sebum; an oily substance produced for skin lubrication.
Grade 2: Moderate (Pustular Acne)
A higher concentration of papules and pustules, mainly on the face.
Papules are red bumps caused by bacteria that damage the pore. Pustules are of similar cause, but appear as white because they contain white blood cells and debris.
Although bacteria is present, acne inflammation is actually caused by your immune system responding to the infection.
Grade 3: Severe (Cystic Acne).
Numerous papules and pustules with inflamed nodules, sometimes spreading beyond the face to the back and chest.
At this point, inflammation is more pronounced, compromising skin structure and incurring high risk of acne scarring.
With more acne appearing, there usually comes temptation to squeeze or pop them. We strongly advise against it, as this can spread the bacteria and lead to multiple breakouts.
Grade 4: Cystic (Severe Cystic Acne)
Large, red painful-looking pustules and nodules on the face that can spread to the upper body.
Cysts, which are deep blemishes more than 5mm in diameter, tend to develop at this stage along with nodules; similar to cysts except they contain no pus or other fluids.
If left untreated, they can last for weeks and even months. In some cases, they can go dormant and reappear in bigger size later on.
Common Causes Causes Of Acne
Hormonal Changes During Puberty
Most people develop acne at the onset of puberty. This is due to an increase in androgen levels when adolescence begins. Rising androgen levels causes the oil glands under the skin to grow, resulting in more sebum production, clogging of the pores, bacteria growth and ultimately, acne formation.
Food high in glycemic index like cakes and sweets have been associated with acne risk. Supplements containing whey protein can also increase the chance of acne outbreaks.
Due to the humid weather in Singapore, our environment is a hotbed for acne breakouts. Pollution and oil in the air are other irritants that stimulate acne growth. For adult acne, it can be worsened with smoking. rubber band–like elements in the skin to fray and break, which results in the sagging you see.
Whether emotional stress can cause acne is still a matter of debate among doctors. However, research has shown that it can worsen current acne conditions.
Wrong Use Of Cosmetic And Skincare Products
Oily cosmetic products can irritate the skin and clog up pores. Make sure to do your research when choosing your powder, foundation, concealer etc. Certain skincare products contain comedogenic ingredients that lead to more sebum production, which can cause additional acne production.
Importance Of Early Acne Treatment
Even though there is no permanent cure for acne, going for early treatment can alleviate conditions, and provide significant benefits:
Prevent Formation Of Deep
Severe acne results in deeper scars. By controlling acne condition, chances of scarring will be reduced.
Easier And Faster Recovery
Mild acne and discreet blackheads respond better to treatment, and clear up faster than a full-blown breakout of papules, pustules and cysts.
Reduction In PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)
PIH occurs after injury to the skin, including acne. Untreated acne can lead to permanent PIH, while timely treatment can reduce the duration of PIH.
Before undergoing treatment, it is important to find out your acne grade first. Proper Acne skin care is often sufficient to alleviate mild Acne conditions. Consult our doctor to accurately diagnose your condition. This will determine your current condition and hence, allow us to recommend the ideal treatment program for you.