Acne vulgaris or acne is a long term skin disease that occurs when hair follicles get clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. It occurs mainly in adolescents. It commonly starts during puberty between the age of 10-13 yrs and tends to be worse in people with oily skin. Acne occurs in both the sexes, although teenage boys tend to have the most severe cases. Acne lesions are most commonly seen on the face. They can also be seen on the neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.
There are a number of factors that are responsible for causing acne:
- Genetic: The predisposition to acne vulgaris for specific individuals is likely explained in part by a genetic component
- Hormonal: Hormonal activity that occurs during menstrual cycles and puberty, may contribute to the formation of acne.
- Infections: Propionibacterium acne is responsible for causing acne.
- Diet: Oily food contribute in the development of acne
- Psychological factors
- Hereditary: If one of your parents had severe acne, then it is likely that you develop acne
- Pressure: In some patients, pressure from helmets, collars, suspenders aggravate acne
- Drugs: Some medications like iodides, bromides, steroids and anti-convulsant medicine can cause or aggravate acne
- Occupations: Exposure to industrial products may cause acne
- Cosmetics: Many cosmetics and skin care products can cause acne
- Acne is also caused due to over production of skin oil or sebum which is produced by a gland at the root of the hair follicle
- Irregular shedding of dead skin cells resulting in irritation of the hair follicles of the skin
- Age: Teenagers are more prone to develop acne
- Disease: Long term chronic illness or regular gastrointestinal problem or hormonal disorders can increase the severity of acne problem in girls
- Personal hygiene: Uncleanliness contribute to the development of acne
- Stress: Emotional stress can contribute to acne
- Environment: Polluted environment and sweating contribute to the development of acne
Acne symptoms vary depending upon the severity of the condition:
- Whiteheads: Closed and plugged pores
- Blackheads: Open and plugged pores
- Papules: Small red and tender bumps
- Pustules: Papules with pus at their tips
- Nodules: Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin
- Cystic lesions: Painful, pus filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin
Ayurveda explains acne in the form of Yuvana Pidika. Yuvana means youth and Pidaka means a skin eruption. Hence, it mainly affects youth. Due to the above mentioned factors when the vata and pitta dosha increases in the body, the rakta dosha and mamsa dhatu gets vitiated. This causes constant irritation in the localized areas such as face, neck, chest and back and as a result multiple small elevated lesions are manifested. These eruptions are named as Yuvana Pidika in Ayurveda.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
- Wash thoroughly by lukewarm water three or four times a day
- Use blood purifying and detoxifying herbs that have astringent and bitter tastes. These tastes help to dry up the oil and have anti bacterial effect that help in cleansing and healing the acne and quickly.
- Coolants and mind soothing medicines are of great help
- Complexion enhancers like turmeric or sandal wood paste should be used
- Hormone balancing therapy is required if the cause is hormonal imbalance
- Easily digestible foods should be taken
- Intake of raw vegetables like carrot and cucumber should be enhanced in the diet
- Avoid exposure to excess bright sunlight
- Take fruits like guava, apple and pear in your diet
- Sleep atleast 6-7 hours at night
- Anti -stress techniques like Pranayam should be undertaken
- One must avoid excess spices that increases Pitta
- Avoid pricking or touching the acne area repeatedly which would otherwise lead to worsening of infection.
HERBAL REMEDIES FOR ACNE
- Prepare a fine paste of the tender leaves of guava, mango and pomegranate and apply over the acne lesions regularly. This is helpful for those with oily skin. It helps to reduce the spots and increases the glow of the skin.
- Crush well red ixora flowers and rose petals and make a fine paste of it. To this add little turmeric and grind well. This helps to relieve the scars caused due to acne.
- Dry the outer skin of the lemon and convert it into ash. Mix this with little buttermilk and apply the same over the acne lesion. Repeated practice of this helps in reduction of the acne lesions
- Apply neem paste or neem turmeric paste in case of cystic acne or when there is local skin infection
- Grind down an orange peel into a mixture of water and directly apply it to the acne region
- Rub grated cucumber over eyes, face and neck to prevent acne
- Prepare paste by adding cinnamon powder and apply over the affected area
- Prepare and apply paste of black pepper, lal chandan and jaiphala
- Local application and intake of coconut water helps in acne