ACNE – Basic Understanding
Acne is the bane of existence for nearly 17 million people who suffer from some form of acne.
Acne is not only embarrassing but also causes psychosocial effects such as: anxiety, depression, inferiority, insecurity, frustration and self-consciousness.
Acne can be in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts. Can be on the face, neck, shoulders, upper back or chest.
The different definitions of acne are:
Acne blemish: A flaw in the skin
Acne pimple: A small, prominent, inflamed elevation of the skin
Blackhead: A condition of the skin characterized by a black tip.
Whitehead: A condition of the skin characterized by a small, firm, whitish elevation of the skin
Cysts: When the clogged pore is swollen, infected and forms a bump it’s called a “cyst”
Those most susceptible are teenagers and adolescents but it also affects many adults. Although the exact cause of acne is still unknown… there are certain triggers that might possibly contribute to it such as bacteria, blocked pores, hormonal changes, excess oil and also genetics may play a large part in it.
One thing you can be sure of…contrary to popular belief, poor hygiene and food such as chocolate does not cause acne.
Severe cases of acne may cause pitted skin and scarring. If you have deep acne scars you may want to go for dermabrasion or dermaplaning to give your skin a smoother appearance. These can be used on small areas of the face.
There are a wide variety of products available for acne treatment anywhere from the mildest lotions to the severest prescriptive forms of treatment. A study comparing popular acne remedies recently discovered relatively inexpensive lotions are as effective as powerful prescription antibiotics.
You’ll find many pros and cons regarding all forms of tre
tment but few of the many treatments that have come about over the years have given any lasting effect. Some treatments have actually been very unhealthy and dangerous for the user.
One treatment – Accutane, may cause severe birth defects and also cause depression which has led the FDA to strengthen its restrictions on its use. These new restrictions require manufacturers of Accutane and its generic versions to keep track of the doctors who prescribe the drug, and also the pharmacies that sell the drug and the patients who use it.
Because it is a high-risk drug, Accutane should be reserved for cases of “severe recalcitrant nodular acne,” according to the product’s labeling. This type of acne is resistant to standard acne treatment, including oral antibiotics, and is characterized by many nodules or cysts–inflammatory lesions filled with pus and lodged deep within the skin. These lesions can cause pain, permanent scarring, and negative psychological effects.
More common side effects of Accutane include lip inflammation and drying of the skin and mucous membranes, skin peeling on eyelids and dry nasal passages.
FDA’s experts say it’s a balancing act. The value of Accutane is clear, but when it comes to even one report of death–whether it’s suicide, miscarriage, or some other cause–FDA must make choices that will best protect the public’s health.
One alternative to lotions, medications and peels for acne is called a blue light laser which looks like a sun lamp and pointed toward the acne-infested area for a little over 15 minutes. It’s warm but not uncomfortable and the eyes are protected from the light. The treatment is used twice a week for four weeks and costs slightly over $100. The light goes through the skin to kill bacteria.
Some pointers on skin care:
Cleansing the skin once in the morning and once before bedtime is really all you need to remove the dirt and dead skin cells that may clog the pores. Washing too often will dry the skin and cause irritation.
Squeezing the pimples does more harm than good causing more inflammation, redness and also leads to scarring.
When buying products such as cleansers, moisturizers, make-up, etc., make a habit of reading the labels and look for “oil free” or “non-comedogenic” on those you buy.
As you’ve probably experienced before…the sun is very good at drying up acne for a short time but it doesn’t last and will definitely lead to wrinkles. Make sure you have at least a 30 SPF sunscreen when in the sun
Although food does not cause acne, it’s still a good idea to maintain a proper diet to give your skin all the nutrients that it needs to help maintain its healthy glow.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are a must along with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and rice. And the old standby of drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will keep the skin hydrated. A good way to get all the fruits and vegetables you need is to buy a really good juicer and drink several glasses a day.
A good probiotic multivitamin and antioxidants such as Green Tea will go a long way to keeping your skin healthy looking.
In order to completely eliminate acne there is still considerable knowledge yet unknown about the skin and what goes on underneath.
But one thing you can be sure of…many phases of research on the skin and its problems are going on all the time and will eventually lead to a more effective treatment and possibly a complete cure.
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