Majority of teenagers and adolescents are affected by acne. Even though genetics play a major role with little care, the condition can be minimized.
Acne according to World Health Organization (WHO) is an inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous units in the skin of the face, neck, chest and upper back. Acne appears during onset of puberty when androgenic stimulation triggers excess production of sebum and abnormal follicular keratinization, colonization by bacteria and local inflammation.
Types of acne
Mild acne: Includes whiteheads and blackheads.
Moderate or severe inflammatory acne: Includes whiteheads, blackheads, papules (reddened areas that are prominent above the skin surface) and pustules (small bumps on the skin that contain visible fluid).
Nodulocystic acne: Deeply embedded solid nodules and painful lesions. May develop additional infections and may lead to scar if left utreated.
Acne may be caused due to different factors but the mail key facto genetics. If both parents had acne, 75% of children will have acne but if one parent had acne, then it is 25%. This trend may not be observed in all families. Acne may be caused mainly due to androgenic hormones, excess sebum production and genetic predisposition.
Affected age group
During adolescence, acne is more common in males than in female but i n adulthood it is more common in women than in men. Acne during adolescence begins with onset of puberty, when gonads produce and release more androgens. Acne is not limited to adolescence as 12% of women and 5% of men at age 25 years have acne by 45 years age 5% of both men and women still have acne.
Dietary Role in Acne
Milk and dairy products
Excess intake of milk and dairy products increase acne it may be due to fats or due to hormones. The hormones present in milk naturally or injected hormones to cows for excess milk production may lead to acne. Intake of milk during adolescence is associated to acne in teenagers; they may not be due to fat content of milk but due to instant breakfast drink, cream cheese and cottage cheese
High fiber diet reported to decrease acne instances. High fiber and low fat diet decreases sebum production in adults.
Fish and seafoods
Fish and seafood are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats their intake may lower incidence of acne and decrease androgen levels.
General Measures for Acne Skin
Be patient as acne increases stress. Over washing of acne, affected area and scrubbing can worsen the condition. However, washing the face twice daily with a mild cleanser can reduce the problem. Cleansers with a pH of 5.5 should be preferred rather than soaps. Try not to pick the acne as it worsens the condition. Be cautious when using over the counter cosmetics
Acne may affect overall performance of the affected person. Along with genetics food habits and the life-style causes disease. Foods rich in omega-3-fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats, low fiber and low glycaemic content may decrease acne. Milk and dairy products, fast food and the stressful life style increase acne. Regular face-wash schedule and some cosmetics may decrease acne. Eating a balances diet and a healthy life style may help control the problem
Raza K et al., Acne: An understanding of the disease and its impact on life. International Journal of Drug Development and Research. 2012: 4(2):14-20.