How can I fight acne vulgaris

What helps with acne vulgaris?

Psychosocial Consequences

Acne vulgaris sufferers can often develop a feeling of shame and withdraw socially because of the symptoms. In many cases, isolation leads to feelings of fear and depression. It is therefore all the more important that family, relationship partners and friends endeavor to deal directly and openly with the disease and thus counteract social withdrawal. You too shouldn't be afraid to confide in your surroundings openly. In addition to dermatological treatment, psychotherapeutic support can also be important.

Hormonal changes as a cause of acne vulgaris

The typical acne in adolescence is caused by hormonal changes during puberty. During this phase, the body produces more male sex hormones (androgens), which increase the formation of sebum (skin fat). The problem: The hormonal change simultaneously stimulates the production of horn material. This clogs the skin's sebum outflow ducts and the sebum collects under the skin in the form of white blackheads. As soon as the skin tears in these areas, the open blackheads come into contact with oxygen and turn black. In addition, bacteria get into the open wounds, which promotes inflammation.

Since the androgen release is many times higher in boys, they are often more affected by acne during puberty. Aside from youth acne, there are many hormonal factors, especially for women, that can cause acne symptoms to break out again. These include pregnancy, menopause, stopping birth control pills and the menstrual cycle.

In addition to the hormonal change, a hereditary predisposition is also associated with the development of acne vulgaris. Experts believe that the risk of illness is over 50% if both parents were already affected by acne.

Acne Vulgaris Risk Factors

Long-term stress, psychological stress or cigarettes, for example, are repeatedly mentioned as possible factors, but ultimately those affected have to find out for themselves which influences and behavior patterns have an impact on the skin's appearance. What is certain, however, is that certain foods and cosmetic products can additionally stimulate sebum production.

The biggest risk factor can be found under "Hands off!" To summarize: When the symptoms on the skin are painful or itchy, there is a tendency to scratch or pinch the pimples. Even if it is difficult, those affected should keep their hands off the areas to avoid carrying additional bacteria into the open wounds. It can also cause scars.

Summary of risk factors:

  • Cosmetic products with a high fat content
  • Fatty and oily food
  • Ingredients of certain drugs
  • Heavy makeup
  • Increased humidity
  • Cigarettes and alcohol

Can I prevent acne vulgaris?

Since acne vulgaris has hormonal causes, its occurrence cannot be prevented. As a sufferer, however, there is an opportunity to alleviate symptoms through proper treatment and lifestyle adjustments.

Acne Treatment: What Help Is There For Acne Vulgaris?

The methods, drugs and active ingredients used to treat acne depend on the severity, skin type and living conditions of the patient. A basic distinction is made between external (topical) treatment with creams, gels or lotions and internal (systemic) treatment with medication in tablet form. Systemic treatment is usually only added in the later course of treatment.

In its lightest form, acne vulgaris can often be treated with a daily hygiene routine. Regular, gentle cleaning can largely prevent the symptoms from worsening. It is important to only use perfume-free and pH-neutral care products and to treat the skin with a water-based moisturizer. However, cleaning alone is usually not enough to improve symptoms. For this, active ingredient-containing creams or gels are required. A dermatologist can tell you which active ingredients are right for you.

Stronger creams or disinfectants attack the natural protective function of the skin. Since fatty care products and cosmetics clog the pores, these must also be avoided.

Typical treatment for mild and moderate acne vulgaris

As soon as the acne goes beyond the mildest stage, treatment with (prescription) drugs is necessary in many cases. The creams and gels that are often used contain the following active ingredients:

  • Retinoids - Vitamin A derivatives, of which adapalene, tretinoin and isotretinoin are used in particular. They have an anti-inflammatory effect, open the pores and dissolve blackheads.
  • Antibiotics - Have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. During treatment, they are combined with basic therapeutic agents (e.g. retinoids) to prevent their effect (resistance) from deteriorating. In topical acne treatment, mainly clindamycin, tetracyclines and, in very rare cases, erythromycin and are used.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) - Has a horn-loosening effect and fights acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes). The active ingredient can be used over a long period of time, but initially causes skin irritation and has a bleaching effect on hair and clothing.
  • Azelaic acid - Works similar to BPO, but is often better tolerated by sensitive skin and can easily be prescribed during pregnancy
  • Salicylic acid - Has a comedolytic effect and is therefore often used in combination with other active ingredients.

Some of the active ingredients are most effective when combined. Examples are the compounds tretinoin + clindamycin and adapalene + benzoyl peroxide.

If the topical therapy does not show sufficient effect, antibiotic tablets can be used as a supplement. In particular, minocycline and doxycycline from the tetracycline group are used.

Systemic treatment of severe acne vulgaris

In most cases, severe acne is treated systemically with the retinoid (vitamin A derivative) isotretinoin. It shrinks the sebum glands, reduces sebum production and counteracts cornification disorders, inflammation and the colonization of bacteria. The first course of treatment usually lasts 6 months. A detailed consultation with a dermatologist is necessary before isotretionin treatment: The active ingredient can have serious side effects and is also teratogenic (teratogenic), which is why it is not approved for the treatment of pregnant or breastfeeding women.

For women who want to use contraception anyway, a treatment attempt with hormonal contraceptives (contraceptives) can be started. Certain contraceptive pills use progestin (e.g. cyproterone acetate) to counteract the androgens.

Home remedies and diet for acne vulgaris

If you click through any acne forum, you will quickly find a multitude of apparently promising home remedies. The following applies here: Do not try anything on the off chance, but always discuss independent treatment attempts with a dermatologist. Treatment with homeopathic remedies is also repeatedly discussed in forums. One thing is certain: acne cannot be treated homeopathically.

How are acne vulgaris and diet related?

Experts suggest that high blood sugar levels have a direct impact on the hormonal cause of acne, as insulin stimulates androgen activity. You should avoid foods with a lot of short-chain carbohydrates (e.g. sweets, white flour) as much as possible.

Many other foods are said to have an effect on acne that has not yet been scientifically proven. If you suspect that milk or dairy products, for example, are damaging your skin, it makes sense to remove the corresponding foods from the menu for a few weeks and to make a before-and-after comparison. So you can easily find out which foods actually have an effect on acne.