Acne (Pimples)  Acne (Pimples)

Acne (Pimples)

Acne (pimples in colloquial language) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease. 

This disease, which is more common in young people and adults, may cause permanent scars on the skin surface, although they are not a major health problem. Although acne is known as a disease of adolescence, it may actually affect all age groups. 


Although the cause of the disease is not certainly known, the enlargement and abnormal functioning of the sebaceous glands are the main disorders and the bacteria on the edge of sebaceous glands have an indirect contribution. Hormones are effective to a limited extent. There is no association between acne and hepatic impairment.

•    Genetic predisposition: Even a person’s having acne problems in his/her family is a cause of acne alone. Hereditary factors (familial predisposition) are associated with acne. The number, size and activity of the sebaceous glands are inherited. Particularly severe, deeply located pimples are more likely to be familial.

•    Hormonal imbalance: The rapidly changing hormonal pattern during adolescence often leads to acne. Androgens, which cause the enlargement of sebaceous glands and the production of more sebum in the hair follicles, account for acne, especially in adolescence. Also, menstrual cycles, pregnancy and birth control pills can also cause acne under this heading like adolescence. 

•    Malnutrition: Studies on adolescents reveal an association between dairy consumption and acne. Studies show that foods with a high glycemic index, such as potatoes, white bread, white rice, white sugar, processed juices, bananas, watermelons, crackers, corn chips, and cornflakes, can worsen acne. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume excessive amounts of such foods and to have a diet consisting mainly of such foods.

•    Stress: Excessive stress alone can cause acne. In such cases, psychological support as well as acne treatment is important for success of the treatment.

•    Cosmetics: Cosmetics, lotions, or cleansers and tonics that cause the skin to be overdry or oily can increase acne breakouts.

•    Smoking: Scientific studies reveal an association between post-adolescent acne and smoking. The severity of acne increases in those who smoke too much.

Acne (pimples) treatment:

Acne is a treatable skin disease. However, it has a long treatment process and it is necessary to wait patiently to achieve an effective result. Every patient is different and every patient's treatment is different. Since it may recur after the end of the treatment, maintenance treatment is arranged with long-interval monitoring to prevent recurrence. The main principle in treatment is to choose a cleansing product that does not irritate the skin and to administer appropriate treatment for acne severity.

Some treatment methods include:
Benzoyl Peroxide: Used topically, this medicine can help kill bacteria in your pores and the surface of your skin.
Antibiotics: This type of medicine can stop or reduce the growth of bacteria that cause the pores to become inflamed. It can be administered topically or taken orally.
Retinoids: This medicine can reduce the development of new pimples and prevent clogged pores. Topical retinoids target comedones and microcomedones, which are the precursors of nearly all acne lesions.
Drainage: This procedure is used surgically or to treat a large cyst.
Phototherapy: This process can reduce the number of acne-related bacteria on the skin. 
Laser: Laser applications can be used to reduce redness and swollen tissue in severe acne cases. 

Psychosocial aspects of acne:

It is known that acne causes or accompanies more psychosocial problems and psychiatric disorders, compared to all other dermatological disorders. Adolescence is a period in which many physical, psychological and social changes and developments occur rapidly in a person's life. This process requires serious adaptability. Lack of adaptability or presence of a large number of factors that make adaptability difficult may cause psychosocial problems and even psychiatric disorders in adolescents.

The underlying cause of almost all psychosocial problems caused by acne is the perception of the “impaired appearance”. Accordingly, the self-esteem of the person decreases. A person with decreased self-esteem is very likely to develop one or more of the following psychosocial problems: lack of self-confidence, introversion, shyness, escape from interpersonal relationships, hypersensitivity to being rejected and excluded, excessive mental preoccupation with physical appearance, and thus failure at school, withdrawal from social activities, impaired anger control, decreased quality of life.

Therefore, acne is not only a cosmetic problem, but also an important disease that needs to be treated.

Reference: Türkiye Klinikleri J Int Med Sci 2006, 2(30): 1-64