Acne is one of many blemishes that mark or create a visual flaw on smooth, healthy skin. Any flaw on the face plays a role in self-esteem and interaction with others. Diagnosis and treatment depend on the cause of the blemish. Seek medical attention for changes in skin or blemishes that grow quickly or change shape and consult a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment of blemishes.
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Blemishes occur in the cells and structures within the skin. Blemishes include pigment variations, inflammation with redness and swelling, bumps of varying sizes and coloration with or without infection; scars; veins near the surface of the skin; and dryness with scaling or flaky skin.
Acne comedones develop in the hair follicles of the skin from trapped oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria trapped in the hair follicle leads to inflammation and infection forming the bumps on the skin often called pimples.
Facial blemishes include freckles; birthmarks, both brown and port-wine stain; white patches from loss of pigment; and melasma, dark patches on the skin as well as scars and diseases causing areas of redness, bumps and changes in skin texture.
Acne occurs in both males and females and ranges in severity from a few pimples to severe acne, with pustules and cysts spread over the face and upper body. Treatments include medications applied to the skin to clear up acne, oral antibiotics to kill bacteria throughout the body including acne-causing bacteria, or oral medication to inhibit the production of sebum or the shedding of skin cells inside the hair follicle.
Treatment for other blemishes depends on the disease process involved. Some blemishes don't require medical treatment. Though for overall mental health, a dermatologist may be able to remove the blemish or reduce its appearance.
Dermatologists examine the skin and ask questions related to health, lifestyle and ethnic background to determine the most effective and appropriate treatment. Removing the upper layer of skin stimulates new skin cell and collagen growth, and can be done with chemical peels or laser treatments.
Risks include burning, scarring and whitened areas on the skin. Acne scars can be diminished with laser and non-cutting laser treatment, although clinical studies continue to determine effectiveness, reports the National Institutes of Health.
Cleanse skin with gentle cleansers. Acne is characterized by oily skin. Proper skin care and cosmetic choices should be oil-free or marked non-comedogenic. Blemishes may involve dry skin requiring a moisturizing or oil-based lotion or cream.
Perform a skin patch test with any new product by using the product on a small area of the skin. Wait 24 hours. Don't use the product if rash or increased redness or swelling develop.
Blemishes and Mental Health
Facial blemishes involve more the feeling of self-consciousness. According to Rajesh Balkrishnan, Ph.D., published in “International Journal of Dermatology”, blemishes affect the quality of health because of related psychosocial symptoms.
Additional mental stress may lead to depression, anxiety, anger and suicidal thoughts. Reported in “Lipids in Health and Disease”, researchers studied the effects of nutritional supplementation including omega-3 fatty acids for treating acne and found a correlation between improvments in acne as well as reduced mental stress from natural anti-depressant action.