The challenges in the management of Acne

by BTM

Sun, 06 September 2020

Dr. Anitta Sara Thampi  Specialist Dermatologist 

It’s amazing how a simple four letter word “ Acne” can have such a  profound impact of the daily well being of an individual. It is not just about the physical discomfort of having the zit or pimple as most people call it but it is also about the psychological impact it has on the patient.

Acne, even though it seems like it should be something that dermatologists can treat easily, we face a lot of challenges when it comes to the management of acne. The most important thing that the patient has to understand is that acne is multifactorial. It can be caused due to either increased bacterial growth on the skin , due to hormonal imbalances, due to certain food triggering acne to even sweating which can cause acne . So before we treat acne , we need to identify the root cause and then plan a step by step management of the condition.

In children most of the time , the acne outbreaks are either due to transition into puberty or their increased sports and activities which causes them to sweat and resulting in small acne like bumps on their skin. Topical creams and washes are the best option for children.

With teenagers,adolescents,and adults  the common culprits are the hormones, their diet and their unhealthy lifestyles .For young girls and women we also need to rule out other hormonal issues like Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which apart from acne , also causes thick hair growth on the face , weight gain and irregular cycles. These need to be evaluated by the gynecologist and an appropriate treatment of the same would result in the improvement of the acne.

For some people an increased consumption of sweets , dairy or fried food , does cause an aggravation of the lesions. So a better way to manage this is by having the triggering food in moderation. At the same time , there are people who complain of severe acne after having an extreme diet in order to loose weight which results in a lack of adequate nutrition to the body causing a physiological stress to the body.

Management of acne can be done by determined based on the severity of the lesions. Mild cases usually require only topical creams ,while mild to moderate cases require oral antibiotics. Severe cases require a stronger medication called Isotretinoin , which is prescribed after vigorous testing, counseling and consent from the patient or the guardians in case of the minors.

Apart from the medical management , there is also a major role to be played by the patient in taking care of their skin to prevent the recurrence of acne .Most important in the list is to not touch the face or pick on the lesions. Our hands as everyone is aware during this Corona pandemic  - are one of the most unclean parts of the body given the surfaces we come in contact with on a daily basis.

The more we touch our face, the more we end up transferring bacteria onto the skin , prevent older pimples  from healing and on picking at the pimples – we leave behind marks or scars which are much harder to treat than pimples.

Next important point to remember is to stay hydrated and to make sure we wash our face regularly to prevent the build up of product or the dirt which clogs our pores.

In spite of all these modalities of managements , some patients have also observed a sudden  outbreak of acne when they are highly stressed .Even though it is easier said than done to “ Not be Stressed”, we need to find a way which can help us remain calm.

Any further queries regarding acne and it’s management can be directed towards the department of Dermatology at the Bahrain Specialist Hospital .

Dr.Anitta Sara Thampi 
Specialist Dermatologist 

Bahrain Specialist Hospital