This condition is also known as “Common Acne” as almost every individual once in his/her lifetime suffers from it.


Acne occurs when the oil glands in our skin secrete greasy substances and clog the tiny hair follicle openings. If the openings are large, the clogs take form of blackheads while if the openings are small then they take the form of whiteheads. Blackheads are small, flat spots with dark centers whereas; whiteheads are small flesh colored bumps. Both blackheads as well as whiteheads can cause problems by developing into swollen pimples or deeper lumps.


Acne is common in both men and women usually of young age i.e. in the ones entering puberty. It stays into effect almost for 5-10 years once the boy/girl enters puberty and starts decreasing in their early 20’s. It presents as a severe form if it affects women of the 30-40 year age group. It is common on facial skin but may also occur on neck, back, shoulder and upper arms.


Food usually plays a little or no role in the development of acne. However, if you believe that a certain food worsens your acne, you should avoid that food.

Acne is NOT a disease caused by diet, behavior, dirt or gender. However, acne may worsen with friction, heat, sweating, stress, poor hygiene, infection and certain medications. Flaring of acne can sometimes be seen around the menstrual cycle in females.


There are 3 components which contribute to acne – build-up of skin, bacteria or inflammation and oil production. Each of these components have to be dealt with individually. Acne medications depend on the individual’s age, and the severity and type of acne he/she is suffering from. The following types of medications perform the following tasks

Build up of skin

is treated with comedolytics which treat the white heads and black heads. Some of the important comedolytics are

  • salicylic acid
  • glycolic acid
  • retinoids such as Glintra-A Gel (Adapalene 0.1 %W/W+Clindamycin 1 %W/W) , Retino-A (Tretinoin Cream).

Build of skin is difficult to treat and at least a 4 month commitment is required to see good results.


lead to inflammatory lesions such as papules (red bumps), pustules (these present with a pus bump on top) and/or cysts (large and painful buildups under the skin).These are treated

  • Retinoids (mentioned above)
  • Topical benzoyl peroxide
  • Topical or an oral antibiotic.
  • For large cysts: anti inflammatory injections on an out patient basis may be offered as these help resolve the lesion faster with minimal or no scarring.

Tretinoin unplugs skin pores and prevents them from clogging

Isotretinoin reduces the oil production from the skin. Pregnant women should avoid Isotretinoin medications

Oral Contraceptive Pills for women reduce the effects of hormones in producing acne


  • Oil free products: Use products which are “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” on the face.
  • Squeezing pimples would release their contents into the under surface of the skin and would only worsen them.
  • Use Mild Cleansers such as Cetaphil facial cleanser, Neutrogena cleansers,
  • Use Lotions such as Cetaphil lotion with or without sunscreen, Neutrogena


Retinoids: Retino-A, Glintra-A : Wash your face with one of the gentle cleansers above, allow to dry for at least 15 minutes, then apply a small amount to the face avoiding skin around the eyes and mouth. If the skin becomes too dry from the use of this medication, use a moisturizer and try using it on an alternate basis. Do not wax or use hair removal products. Before using retinoids, consult your physician if you are on any other medication. Some people may notice a worsening of their acne for two to four weeks after starting the medications, this is absolutely normal and should subside with time.

Benzoyl Peroxide (BP): Apply on dry face. The wash and the creams will bleach cotton fabrics therefore use white towels for your shower and wash off completely in order minimize this effect. For creams and gels, take care not to get it on your clothes or bedding.

One should consult a dermatologist before undergoing these medications as medications should be taken according to skin type which can be best detected and analyzed by the doctor himself. Pregnant women should avoid some of these medications unless prescribed by her doctor , as some them are not safe to taken during pregnancy. Avoid excess use of antibiotics, as bacteria tend to develop resistance to antibiotics which makes the situation more difficult to treat.


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