By Elvis Foote
Acne vulgaris (commonly called acne) is a skin disease caused by changes in the pilosebaceous units (skin structures consisting of a hair follicle and its associated sebaceous gland). Acne happens when oil (sebaceous) glands come to life around puberty stimulated by male hormones from the adrenal glands of both boys and girls.
Acne is most common during adolescence, affecting more than 85% of teenagers, and frequently continues into adulthood. It develops as a result of blockages in follicles and occurs on the face, as well as the neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Acne can be disfiguring and upsetting to the patient.
Acne has nothing to do with not washing your face. Although it is not curable, it is controllable; proper treatments can help you to feel and look better and may prevent scars. Acne is a common skin disease that causes pimples. However it is not just a problem for teenagers, it can affect people from ages 10 through 40. One myth is that eating greasy foods like french fries or pizza, chomping on chocolate, or drinking sodas causes acne. Rather it develops when the hair follicle of skin gets plugged by over production of sebum, dead cells and become infected by bacteria. Acne can have a short-term, potentially lasting psychological effect. It may cause you considerable emotional distress but there is a range of treatment options to help you tackle the problem. Acne in young women tends to be more random and linked to hormone changes, such as the menstrual cycle.
Treatments for acne include medicines and creams. Treatment choice depends upon whether the acne is mild, moderate, or severe. Generally the treatment will last about 6 months.
Treatment is aimed at reducing the production of excess amounts of sebum, preventing the development of comedowns and killing the bacteria responsible for the infection. There are many products available for the treatment of acne, many of which are without any scientifically proven effects. Generally speaking, successful treatments show little improvement within the first two weeks, instead taking a period of approximately three months to improve and start flattening out.
Acne will generally reappear quite soon after the end of treatment-days later in the case of topical applications, and weeks later in the case of oral antibiotics. No matter what special treatments your dermatologist may use, remember that you must continue proper skin care. Acne treatment for mild cases usually involves self-care measures, such as washing your skin daily with a gentle cleanser and using an over-the-counter acne cream.
Acne treatment for severe cases usually includes one or more prescription medications. Acne treatments work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection, reducing the inflammation or doing all four. With most prescription acne treatments, you may not see results for four to eight weeks, and your skin may get worse before it gets better.
Types of acne treatments include: Topical treatments. If your acne doesn't respond to these treatments, you may want to see a doctor or dermatologist to get a stronger prescription lotion. Alternative treatments for acne focus on self care: proper cleansing to keep the skin oil-free; eating a well-balanced diet high in fiber, zinc, and raw foods; and avoiding alcohol, dairy products, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, and foods high in iodine, such as salt.
The aims of treatment are to prevent new spots forming, to improve those already present, and to prevent scarring. Antibiotics do not prevent pores from becoming blocked so treatment to prevent blackheads, such as benzoyl peroxide, is often also prescribed at the same time. Some types of oral contraceptive tablets help women who have acne. It tends to be prescribed to people with severe forms of acne that have proved resistant to other treatments. Expect to use your treatments for at least two months before you see much improvement. Some topical treatments may dry or irritate the skin when you start using them. An oil-free moisturizer should help, but you may also have to cut down on the frequency with which you apply the treatments. Safe, effective treatments are out there, but sometimes it can be a little tricky working out what's going to work for you.
Acne seems to affect men and women in different ways. Young men are more likely to have a more serious form of acne. As women get older, acne often gets better. For many women, acne can be an upsetting illness. But you don't have to wait to outgrow acne or to let it run its course.
Today, almost every case of acne can be resolved. You should never try to drain or remove your acne by squeezing or picking. This can lead to infection, worsen your acne, and cause scarring.
At present there is no cure for acne, although the available treatments can be very effective in preventing the formation of new spots and scarring. For some, acne can be a bit of hassle but for others it can be devastating.
The important thing to remember is that all types of acne can be well controlled by safe and effective treatment. So, whether it's a few annoying pimples or more severe acne that is getting you down, face up to acne with the right information and you'll be on the road to recovery getting the treatment you need.
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