Acne – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Acne, zits, pizza face. You’ve surely heard all the slang out there. For many it’s the thing jokes are made from. To some it is a minor convenience that will be outgrown over time. To some though, acne is much more than a minor inconvenience. It can become a serious problem. One which can not only be physically damaging, but mentally as well.

What is Acne? Acne is an affliction normally associated with teenagers. Acne appears when follicles, or pores in the skin are clogged. Oil that usually escapes to the skin’s surface is then trapped, where bacteria begins to grow and acne forms.

There are different types of acne, from mild cases such as whiteheads & blackheads, to more serious and potentially disfiguring cases like, acne conglobata. Mild cases and normally easy to treat, while more severe cases, may require more aggressive therapy to control.

There is no definitive cause of acne, but there are several factors believed to play a part. The most important factor is believed to be increased levels of androgens, the male sex hormone, which increases in males and females during puberty. Another factor may be heredity, where the gene causing the development of acne is passed down from parent(s) to children. Certain drug use may also contribute, as well as certain cosmetics, which could potentially alter the cells in the follicle, causing the follicle to stick together.

Contrary to popular believe, eating chocolate or greasy food will not cause acne to form, though diet is thought to help in the prevention of acne is some people.

Treatment of typical cases of acne usually includes over the counter products containing, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid. These chemicals have proven effective in the treatment of mild cases of acne. It is advised not to pick or squeeze Acne, as you will increase the risk is scarring. Scrubbing the acne with a loofah or any other method is also not recommended, as scrubbing only makes it worse.

More severe or resistant Acne will require treatment by a licenced Dermatologist. A Dematologist may prescribe topical treatments such as Retinoids, or Antibiotics. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed, as well as hormonal treatment in severe cases, like accutane. Accutane is used as a last resort for those for which other treatments have been ineffective.

The prevention of acne may be as simple as keeping your hands and hair off your face, as your hands and hair contain oils which may contribute and contaminate the pores of your face. Other prevention tips include the reduction of stress in your everyday life, exercise regularly, as well as eating a balanced diet. Warm baths and getting plenty of sleep may also contribute in the prevention of acne. It is also advised that makeup be used sparingly and be removed completely when not needed.

Acne is a difficult affliction for some to deal with, but with the right treatments and lifestyle changes, can be managed and minimized. Some will surely outgrown it in time, but those who do not, have options to improve their quality of life.

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