Dr. Prakash Acharya, MD, (Consultant Dermatologist)
What causes acne?
To keep our skin smooth and soft, the sebaceous glands which secrete sebum, are scattered throughout our skin. Even if we don’t see it from outside, such glands are everywhere in the face. And if for some reason, such as a hereditary or hormone called androgen, such glands become larger or more active, more sebum or oil is released. If the dead cells from our hair accumulate in this sebum, it forms a lump called clog. If this clog closes the opening of that gland, then an acne forms. If this clog stays inside the skin then we can see it as white bump on the skin which we call white head or closed comedone. But if this clog is seen in the air outside, then due to oxygen that clog oxidizes and turns black and we see it as black head or open comedone.
If the bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes grows in the accumulated sebum and there is an inflammatory process, then the acne can take the form of red bump. And if this process continues to grow and the dandruff breaks out inside the skin, the substance there will spread around and the acne gets worse and take the form of cyst or nodule. That is why we should never squeeze the pimple because when we squeeze it, the pimple bursts inside the skin and the substance spreads around leading to severe lesion with scarring.
How is acne treated in Nepal?
Although acne often disappears on its own, the scars it leaves can make the face look disfiguring for a long time. It is more difficult to treat the scars left by the acne than the treatment of acne itself. So timely treatment is necessary.
The most commonly used antibiotics and vitamin A supplements for the treatment of acne are those used orally or topically. Medications used include clindamycin, tretinoin, adapalene, azelaic acid, niacinamide, etc., while oral medications include doxycycline, azithromycin, isotretinoin, etc. Pregnant women should not use many of these medications, so it is important to consult a doctor.
Chemical peels are also used to treat acne, which usually contain salicylic acid.
How long does it take to treat acne?
Acne is treated according to its type and grade. Therefore, the recovery time varies according to the medicine used. Most treatments can take at least 1 to 2 months to show effect. Such treatments should be continued for a longer time to prevent recurrence.
What are the side effects of the drug used to treat acne?
Ointments such as tretinoin, adapalene, benzoyl peroxide, which are often used in the treatment of acne, can often lead to dry skin, flaking, redness and burning sensation. To reduce this problem, one should start with a small amount of ointment and use a moisturizer. In the same way, the medication may cause increased photosensitivity. Therefore, sun exposure should be minimized and regular use of sunscreen must be done.
Can Skin Products affect acne?
Skin products also play an important role in the treatment of acne. If the skin products do not match according to the skin type, the products can cause acne. Whenever possible you should use a non-comedogenic sunscreen and moisturizer. Similarly, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in facewash helps in the treatment of acne.
How much does it cost to treat acne in Nepal?
Acne treatment with the use of topical and oral treatment can cost up to NRs 2,000-2,500. But the price of facewash, sunscreen and moisturizer may make it more expensive.