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Do's & Dont's for ACNE VULGARIS / PIMPLES - April 2002

Acne, commonly known as 'Pimples' is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the pilosebaceous unit (hair follicle and oil producing glands). It is one of the commonest conditions affecting the teenage population. Usually they subside spontaneously within a few years, but a small percentage of them continue to have them even in their early thirties.

Acne is due to various reasons. There is increased stickiness of the cells that line the opening of the hair follicle due to which the sebum which is normally secreted out through thisroute, gets blocked, resulting in the 'blackhead'. There is also an increased amount of the bacteria 'Propionibacteria acnes' which normally resides there in small numbers. There is also increased sebum production due to the hormonal variation that takes place at the time of puberty.

Acne can either be non-inflammatory (just blackheads) or they can progress to larger lesions filled with pus, which ultimately scar. Topical medications in the form of lotions, gels etc. is sufficient for small non inflammatory ones, but once pus filled lesions are present, oral antibiotics are necessary, in addition to the topical medications.




Do wash your face with a mild soap thrice a day.
Do wash your face often (plain water splashes).
Do steam your face at least twice a week.
Do use a separate face towel and soap.
Do eat a healhty balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. It is generally believed that oily foods aggravate acne. This is not true.
Do inform your doctor if you are taking any other oral medications like oral contraceptive pills, hormones etc.
Do ask your doctor for any clarification regarding your medications.
Do visit your dermatologist regularly.

Do not pinch / pluck at your pimples or even touch them. They can scar.
Do not stop your medications abruptly without consulting your doctor. Oral medications may have to be taken for at least 5-6 months.
Do not use any strong medicated soaps.
Do not use oily cosmetics.

Cosmetic corrective procedures for Acne scars
Following cosmetic procedures are available for post acne scars in the face:
Chemical peel : Various chemical agents like Retinoic acid, Trichloracetic acid, Alpha hydroxy acid or Phenol are used to induce exfoliation of superficial layers of skin.
Dermabrasion: Abrading superficial layers of skin using emory or sand paper or motorized dermabrader.
Collagen injection: Used to fill up and level up skin unevenness and smoothen it.
Excision & punch Graft : Deep pitted scars can be excised and punch grafted.

Added on …Jan/Feb,2013:
A slide show on prevention of Pimples

Dr.Anuradha Rao,

Consultant Dermatologist, Bangalore


Updated on 01.02.2013.

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