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Mild Acne

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Mild acne is the first stage of acne vulgaris. It is usually mild and most people don't treat it. Find how why treating acne at this stage is important and how to prevent further damage to the skin.

Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease that causes the skin to turn red and scaly. It also presents with a number of superficial and deep lesions which appear progressively depending on the severity of the disease.

Mild acne is the earliest stage of the skin disease.

Often, it is the start of acne breakout in teenagers and the most common stage of adult acne.

Although there are only a few visible lesions during mild acne, this is the easiest stage of acne to treat. If properly treated, acne can be completely arrested before it progresses to severe forms and the extensive scarring experienced by some acne sufferers can be completely avoided.

Causes of Mild Acne

Mild acne can be caused by a number of factors. The most important ones are discussed below.

Genetics – Although acne eventually affects more than 80% of the population, it is also has a genetic component. The severity of acne is one inheritable aspects of the skin condition. Often, multiple members of a family may battle with acne well into adulthood.

Diet – The food we eat can also cause and/or worsen acne. Milk and dairy products are especially implicated in this regard. Foods with high glycemic loads can also cause mild acne. The mechanism by which diet causes acne is through the introduction and stimulation of certain hormones.

Stress – Emotional stress and other forms of psychological stress can also cause acne. Stress is a strong factor for recurrent mild acne. Experts believe that the hormones released by stress are responsible for changes in the skin that causes acne.

Hormones – Hormones, especially androgens, are the reason mild acne breaks out during puberty. As the body changes, this period of fast growth is fueled by male sex hormones such as testosterone and its metabolites.

Another important hormone that causes mild acne is IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor-1.

These hormones trigger the proliferation of sebocytes which leads to the enlargement of the sebaceous glands and increased production of sebum.

As the excess sebum is pushed to the skin surface, some of it mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria inside skin pores. When the oily sebum goes rancid, it hardens and clogs the pores. Clogged pores are responsible for the appearance of comedones, pustules and papules.

Infections – When excess sebum gets to the surface of the skin, it changes the nature of the skin. The excess sebum serves as ideal growth environment for acne-causing bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermis.

These bacteria release antigens and toxins which prompt repeated immune hypersensitivity reactions in the skin.

The body tries to heal the damage caused by these bacteria by releasing antibodies that cause the local inflammation which produces papules and pustules on the skin.

Features of Mild Acne

There are distinguishing features of the early stage of acne. 

Features of Mild Acne

In most cases, the acne lesions that appear during mild acne are restricted to the face and only some sides of it. For example, a few zits on the forehead, chin or nose would qualify as mild acne.

In addition, mild acne is often of short duration. It either resolves (on its own or in response to treatment) or progresses to moderate and severe acne. Mild acne is also cyclical and corresponds to periods of considerable hormonal changes in the body such as before or during menstrual periods.

The acne lesions that appear during mild acne are caused by superficial damage to the dermis.

Whiteheads – Whiteheads are also called closed comedones or pimples. They arise from pores that are completely blocked. These blocked pores trap in dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum.

Because whiteheads are closed, they appear as white spots on the skin. Whiteheads do not last as long as blackheads before they break up and are drained.

Blackheads – Blackheads are also called open comedones.

Like whiteheads, blackheads are also filled with a clogging mixture of dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum. However, the pores are not fully closed. Therefore, the sebum quickly oxidizes and solidifies.

Blackheads are more stable than whiteheads, therefore, they last longer. When they are drained, the content appears black partly because of the oxidized sebum and partly because of the skin pigment, melanin, which mixes with the content.

Papules – Papules are inflamed, red, tender, small bumps on the skin. They have no heads and should not be popped. When aggravated, papules crust over and become infected. This could quickly increase the number of papules covering the acne and turn mild acne into more severe forms.

Pustules – Pustules are inflamed bumps on the skin which are filled with pus. They usually have whitish or yellowish centers which are caused by the trapped pus pushing the skin surface.

Pustules are also referred to as zits. They can be popped but with care to prevent further damage to the dermis.

Skincare and OTC Products for Mild Acne

Mild acne can be successfully treated with mild acne products. In fact, better skincare can help prevent it and reduce the number of lesions that appear on the face.

Here are a few skincare advices to help you treat mild acne:

  • Wash the affected area with mild cleanser and water. Use a gentle wash cloth to wipe the skin. Repeat this wash twice daily
  • Buy proven, dermatologically-tested over-the-counter acne topical products containing one or more of these active ingredients: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxyl acids, resorcinol and azelaic acid.
  • Natural remedies are also available. These are safe and just as effective as conventional topical products.
  • Do not do spot application when applying topical acne products. Apply the acne cream or lotion to the area affected by acne instead of individual acne lesions
  • Apply a thin film of the product in the morning and at nighttime
  • Only use an oil-free moisturizers if the acne products cause your skin to dry up. An oil-free sunscreen can also protect your skin after applying exfoliants
  • Be patient and keep using the acne product. It usually takes weeks and even months before positive results are obtained

Medications for Mild Acne

Topical acne medications including stronger medications are also available for treating mild acne.

Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin and erythromycin solutions are also useful for removing acne-causing bacteria from the skin before they cause extensive damage. However, there are chances of antibiotic resistance developing to this product. To reduce this chance and improve the effectiveness of the treatment, topical antibiotics should be combined with topical salicylic acid or benzoyl acid.

Topical retinoids such as adapalene can also be used to control mild acne. Retinoids are synthetic vitamin A analogs and although they have serious side effects, topical retinoids are usually much safer than oral retinoids (such as isotretinoin or Accutane).

Natural acne remedies are also effective for treating mild acne.

Besides the topical products including herbal extracts, there are effective oral acne supplements that combine minerals, vitamins, herbal extracts and other natural anti-acne remedies to effectively combat mild acne.

Not only do these natural acne remedies produce comparable efficacy to conventional acne medications, they are much safer and they produce far less side effects.

Actimine belongs to this group of oral natural acne remedies for treating mild acne.





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