What is Acne?
Acne is a term used to describe a variety of symptoms such as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, zits or blemishes, and is most commonly seen in boys and girls during the teenage years. During adolescence, the hormonal changes stimulate the glands, causing an over supply of oils that back up and clog the pores. Studies show that 3 out of 4 teens have some degree of acne.
Although acne breakouts are not as common after puberty, adults are not immune to this affliction either, especially those with oily skin.
What are the direct causes of acne?
Acne occurs when the hair follicles of your skin become plugged. Each follicle contains sebaceous (oil) glands that secrete a fatty oil known as sebum which lubricates skin and hair. When these follicles become clogged at skin level, a lesion – inflamed or not inflamed is the result. These sebaceous glands are most active on the face, chest and back.
“Stories” about acne are are many and varied. And here are some of them:
Acne is the result of poor personal hygiene — dirty skin and hair. This belief probably started because of the skin infections associated with acne. But, it is false. Acne outbreaks happen because of what takes place beneath the skin surface.
Eating chocolate causes acne pimples. This is also not true. While eating too much chocolate or too many French fries and cheeseburgers might not be a healthy diet for most people, it also has not been scientifically proven to cause acne. You should rely on your own personal experiences to tell you what foods do and do not agree with you.
Acne is somehow related to sex. This is false. However, again, there is no scientific proof that too much or lack of sex causes acne. Sexual activity has a relationship with hormonal production, but not with the secretion of sebum.
Acne is seen in the teen years only. Of course, this is not true. As mentioned previously, this malady is very often seen in adults of all ages.
“Let acne run its course.” This is certainly an erroneous statement. There are many aids and treatments to relieve those suffering from this problem. So to think it should be allowed to run its course is ridiculous. Acne should not be ignored and should be treated aggressively following basic medically approved procedures.
Squeezing pimples is the preferred way to get rid of them. This is certainly false. Squeezing pimples is never an option to take, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. You could very well aggravate the condition, leading to infections and possibly causing permanent scarring.
The more medicines you take or use, the better again, not true. Excess use of any medication, oral or topical, can be dangerous and lead to more problems. Always follow directions for the acne medication use as well as your dermatologist’s advice.
Acne most often is a facial problem, but people have it on other parts of the body such as the back, neck, shoulders and chest.
Acne does take a toll on those afflicted with it. It affects their self-image, self-confidence and can even cause depression. Happily, there are treatments available –from the most basic such as daily skin care to more complex or prescribed treatments by a dermatologist.
Daily Acne Skin Care
Skin that is prone to acne requires an acne skin care routine on a daily basis to combat the appearance of acne pimples. The attention you give to your daily acne skin care can be the difference in whether your regimen is simple and basic or if severe measures have to be undertaken.
To keep acne pimples at bay, the first step in acne skin care must be to maintain clean, healthy skin. Use common sense to protect your skin from sun and chemical-laden products.
4 Important Acne Skin Care Steps
Acne Skin Care Step #1
Use a mild soap-free facial bar at least once or twice a day. If your skin is excessively oily, cleansing three times a day is not excessive. Acne skin care requires thorough but gentle cleansing. It is important not to be harsh with your skin when you scrub it to prevent aggravating the condition.
Acne Skin Care Step # 2
Always thoroughly moisten the skin first, and apply the cleanser liberally. Rinse with plenty of water and pat dry don’t rub with a soft white towel.
Acne Skin Care Step # 3
Acne skin care usually requires the use of an alcohol-free toner. If you have very oily skin, you may need to use an astringent in the places where the skin is most oily. You might want to consider diluting the astringent if it feels harsh to your skin. If in doubt, consult your dermatologist about the acne skin care methods that work best for you.
Acne Skin Care Step #4
Shampoo hair two to three times a week. Oily hair may need to be washed on a daily basis.
Acne Skin Care – Protect Skin From Sun
Being exposed to the the sun could cause your skin to flare-up, so you should always wear a sun screen when outside. Many acne medications cause the skin to be even more sensitive to the sun and more likely to burn. Skin should always be protected from the sun to prevent damage that causes premature or excessive wrinkling and even skin cancer. Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
Acne Skin Care and Make-up
Make-up might be important to you, but the best acne skin care regimens eliminate it since acne prone skin is susceptible to acne blemishes which make-up could aggravate. It you do decide to occasionally use make-up, the non-oil based kind is best since it is less likely to precipitate acne flare-ups. Be sure to read all cosmetic labels carefully.
In adult women who have acne prone skin, using make-up as a part of their daily routine is a major factor in causing acne outbreaks. To lessen the effects of the make-up, be diligent about your bedtime acne skin care. Thoroughly but gently wash off all traces of make-up. Use a mild facial cleanser and rinse very well with fresh, warm water.
Shaving and Acne Skin Care
If you have to shave, use special acne skin care precautions. Whether you use an electric shaver or safety razor, make sure the blades are sharp. Soften the beard with water and shaving creams as much as you possibly can. Shave around blemishes (rather than over them) to avoid cutting them.
Additional Acne Skin Care Tips
Don’t make squeezing pimples a part of your daily acne skin care routine! You run the risk of setting up an infection, which can only make a bad problem worse. Also, “popping pimples” can lead to permanent scarring.
In conclusion, consciously keep your hands away from your face. Your hands are carriers of germs that don’t need to contact skin that is already vulnerable. Be assured, acne can be controlled. However you must take all necessary steps to practice good basic acne skin care routines.
Acne Scars – Treatment of Acne Scars
Acne scars can be avoided if proper attention is paid to acne eruptions when they occur. Most people with a mild case or even a moderate one — will not usually have to be concerned about acne scars. Scarring, however, is almost unavoidable if the acne outbreak has been severe.
There are new methods and technologies being used today that can minimize acne scars. Also, existing acne scars can be removed using a range of techniques depending on the acne scar itself and the results you are seeking.
Preventing Acne Scars
Acne scars can be prevented. But it takes using care, proper treatment and good judgment on your part. For instance, do not squeeze or pick at pimples. It is risky to squeeze or do anything else to try to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads – you more than likely do not know what you are doing. There is a danger of causing the bacterial infection already in the pimple to spread, damaging the skin and possibly leading to acne scars.
Mild cases of acne can be treated successfully with over-the-counter medications. Mild acne is not likely to leave acne scars. Some moderate and all severe acne eruptions require treatment by a dermatologist. The dermatologist can prescribe the best possible medicine, whether it’s topical or oral, for your condition. The doctor can also remove blackheads and whiteheads in such a manner to lessen the chances of causing an acne scars. Doctors are also able to lance and drain pus filled nodules if necessary. Doctors have the knowledge and the sterile equipment necessary to perform these procedures, and these procedures should never be tried at home. Many acne scars result when someone without the skill or knowledge attempts to deal with acne eruptions.
Acne pimples contain bacteria which can cause inflammation. Once the initial problem is cleared up, it is normal for some degree of surface scab, scar or discoloration to remain. Never pick at or remove a scab that has formed over an old acne scar or lesion. Scabs are a natural part of the healing process, and picking them off interferes with nature’s healing process. Likewise, the various discolorations are not really considered to be scars, but are part of the normal rejuvenation and will disappear with time — probably within a year or so.
Retin-A, Renova and Alpha-Hydroxy acids are used to speed up the process and keep the discolorations and scarring to a minimum. Exposure to sun should be curtailed and always use sun screen when outside when using these medicines.
Acne Scars Treatment
Acne scars can be treated in several different ways, including:
Chemical peel can be applied if the acne scars are not too severe. This procedure removes the microscopic top layer of skin which lets the cells underneath regenerate.
Lasers remove the damaged layer of skin and tighten the skin underneath to raise the depression caused by the acne scar. Because of the pain involved during this procedure –although it is usually described as mild the dermatologist uses an anesthetic locally to numb the pain. Healing generally takes 3-10 days.
Dermabrasion is a procedure that literally scrapes away the surface skin where the acne scar appears. During the healing process, a new layer of skin is formed, replacing the scarring.
Both dermabrasion and laser treatments cause the skin to turn red, but this discoloration disappears after several months.
Acne Scar Removal
Almost everybody has had an experience with acne at some point in their lives. Most times it is only an annoyance or embarrassment that is treated and that is the end of it. Others are misfortune enough to have episodes of acne that leave deep, permanent scars. This usually ends up with some type of acne scar removal.
There are several different acne scar removal methods to deal with these unsightly acne scars. The methods used do help the scarred area return to a more normal appearance; but most severe, deep acne scars can never be completely eliminated.
Options for acne scar removal
Collagen – collagen is an absorb able gelatin protein compatible with the body. Injecting it under the acne scar site to bring it up to skin level is an effective acne scar removal treatment in most cases. However, the procedure must be repeated, usually every 3 – 6 months, for best results. After it is injected, the collagen rounds out the scar area, making the scar less obvious.
Autologus Fat Transfer – this procedure for acne scar removal is similar to the collagen injection process, but the technique uses the person’s own body fat. The fat is taken from another part of the boy and injected into the acne scar site, causing it to fill in. This acne scar removal process also has to be repeated, but not as often as the collagen injections because the fat will begin to be absorbed back into the skin. There is a recovery time needed after this procedure.
Dermabrasion – dermabrasion is the most common technique used for acne scar removal. Done under local anesthesia, the doctor uses a high-speed brush or wheel to remove a thin layer of surface skin. Removing the surface layer of skin also removes some shallow scarring at the surface to lessen the depth of the acne scar. Dermabrasion is only an effective acne scar removal method on shallow scars.
Punch Excision – in this acne scar removal procedure, the scar is removed with a surgical instrument. A plug of skin taken from another part of the body is inserted in the resulting hole. Once the skin graft heals, the doctor may use dermabrasion to make the skin surface smoother still. This is usually the acne scar removal technique of choice for deep scars.
Chemical Peels – this acne scar removal technique involves the applications of chemical acids to the skin which cause the outer (top) layer to be removed. Different chemicals and different concentrations of the chemicals are used depending on the patient’s skin type and how much scarring has taken place.
Laser Treatment – this is another acne scar removal technique. The objective is to remove skin so that new skin can form. Lasers of various intensity and wave length are aimed at the acne scarring. Depending on the scar’s properties, permanent results can be achieved. Several acne scar removal treatments may be required.
Patients having laser treatment for acne scar removal experience some measure of discomfort (depending on individual tolerance for pain), swelling and redness in the treated area. Sometimes the area is topically medicated during the healing process. Complete healing can take a while, even months, before the skin is back to its normal color. Also, the sun will be sun-sensitive up to a year after the procedure.
When deciding to have acne scar removal, it is very important to know your options and to have a realistic expectation about the results.
Causes and Treatment of Back Acne
Although acne is usually thought of as a condition whose main symptom is pimples on the face, many people suffer with acne on their back. Back acne is common enough to have its own nickname “bacne”.
Back acne affects all ages, genders and races, but is most often seen in men. The back has thousands of sebaceous (oil) glands, each producing its share of oil.
Causes of Back Acne
Like acne found in other places, back acne occurs when hair follicles in the skin on the back become clogged. Each follicle contains sebaceous glands that secrete a fatty oil called sebum. The sebum’s function is to lubricate the hair and skin.
In back acne, the sebum and dead cells are produced faster than they can move from the pores. This is what causes either a whitehead or a blackhead. Whiteheads are the result of a pore closing off. If the pore stays open, the top darkens causing a blackhead. Blackheads are neither caused by or colored by dirt. Both of these kinds of acne eruptions are seen in back acne.
Clothes that fit tight and clothes that are made from materials that don’t let the skin breathe are two of the most common causes of back acne. Even wearing a backpack has been cited as contributing to back acne. Acne on the buttocks in included in the back acne category. It can also be noted that most people do not wash their backs as thoroughly as they should, which is certainly a contributing factor to back acne.
A variety of types of acne pimples compose back acne including whiteheads, blackheads, surface type pustules or papules which are deeper. As in other types of acne, back acne can form deep in the skin and cause cysts.
Back Acne Treatment
Because the skin on the back is much thicker than skin covering others parts of the body, the treatment for back acne is different.
To eradicate back acne, it is essential to keep the back clean by bathing or showering frequently. Be sure to shower or bathe after working out. Use a cleansing product that has salicylic or glycolic acid as one of its ingredients. It would be a good idea to use a loofah to gently scrub your back to remove the dead skin of back acne. This process is known as exfoliating, and should be thorough but gentle.
After cleansing, dry the skin and apply a topical lotion, ointment or cream that contains benzoyl peroxide to the areas where the back acne is located. Allow the medicine to absorb completely before dressing because it can stain clothing.
Also, take care that you apply the medication to the back acne pimples only, and not the entire back. Since most back acne medications cause some drying of the skin, you would not want the skin on your back to become excessively dry. This would require moisturizing which could trigger more back acne. It could become a vicious cycle. It might be necessary to have someone apply the medicine to your back acne for you — to be sure it is done properly.
Acne Diet – Does What You Eat Affect Acne
There have been many discussions and studies over the years about what an acne diet is, and the effect diet and the foods you eat have on the development and progress of acne. It has become increasingly clear that although the foods themselves may not be the direct causative agent of an acne breakout, the metabolic process that takes place during the digestion of certain food releases chemical elements that may be the culprits in the outbreak of acne pimples. These chemicals may be the cause the onset of acne, or they may cause the existing acne outbreak to become worse.
Acne Diet – Relationship Between Diet Fat and Acne
Most diets in the Western cultures contain high amounts of fat and dairy products. This may be one of the reasons that many people in the Western hemisphere are often prone to have acne problems. On the other hand, people in the Eastern countries have diets consisting of mostly carbohydrates and low fat foods such as fruits and vegetables. This kind of diet is thought to be one the reasons for their low incidence of acne, and might be thought of as a good acne diet.
The occurrence of acne is also thought to related to eating foods that are hard to digest which slows down the whole digestive system. A sluggish digestive process may be a primary cause all kinds of skin disorders.
Whether or not you have acne, but especially those susceptible to outbreaks of acne, you should be very aware of acne diet theories and careful about what your diet consists of. Acne diets should be rich in fiber and based on plants rather than refined foods. In this way, the metabolic process can run at a normal pace, thereby clearing the digestive tract over a period of time. In an acne diet, you should drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Daily servings of fruits and seed oil should be included in a healthy acne diet. Oily fishes must also be included in the acne diet to supply some essential fatty acids. Whole grains, lentils, beans and root vegetables should definitely be a part of a healthy acne diet that will lessen the chances of the onset of acne. Also, alcohol and caffeine intake must be curtailed.
Maintaining a Healthy Acne Diet
A healthy diet (also in the context of this discussion, an acne diet) is one of the major components in having and maintaining a healthy body and beautiful skin – free of pimple and blemishes. Although, as previously stated, it has not be proven, there is a direct link between diet and acne. Specific attention to body maintenance will almost certainly decrease the chance for acne skin eruptions, and will improve the body’s immune system and may even help in acne treatment. An acne diet for wellness and health should be composed of vegetables, fruits, whole grain and multi-grain foods, carbohydrates, fibers, and frequent intakes of seed oil.
Acne Prevention – Tips To Prevent Acne
Acne Prevention Tips
Here are some acne prevention tips to help you prevent acne pimple outbreaks as well as lessen their severity and duration:
Acne Prevention Tip #1
Washing the face twice a day can help in acne prevention. Washing your face more than that can strip the natural oils from your skin which would, in turn, cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This cycle could result in the over-production of oil leading to more acne eruption problems. Wash gently with a soft wash cloth and mild soap using circular motions. Do not scrub. Scrubbing is irritating to the acne prone skin. There are special cleansers made to fight acne outbreaks.
Acne Prevention Tip #2
Take a shower immediately after working out since sweat mixed with oils from your skin can trap dirt and bacteria in your pores which can cause acne.
Acne Prevention Tip #3
Never go to bed with a dirty face or with make-up on.
Acne Prevention Tip #4
Keep your hair clean, and adopt styles that keep your hair out of your face.
Acne Prevention Tip #5
Your hands always have bacteria on them, so try to keep them away from your face. Before you touch your face for any purpose, always wash your hands. In fact, make sure that anything that touches your face is clean, things such as frames on your eye glasses or cell phones. This can help prevent acne.
Acne Prevention Tip #6
Don’t squeeze acne pimples. This would spread the bacteria in the acne pimple, worsening the condition. Squeezing acne pimples can lead to permanent scarring.
Acne Prevention Tip #7
Keep your pillow cases squeaky clean – even if that means changing them every day. Also, make sure the wash clothes and towels you use are clean.
Acne Prevention Tip #8
Use an over-the-counter acne medication containing benzoyl peroide after your acne skin care cleansing routine.
Acne Prevention Tip #9
Diet and nutrition – eat a healthy diet including plenty of fresh vegetables.
Acne Prevention Tip #10
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Water helps to flush toxins out of your system which is important for a clear, healthy complexion.
Acne Prevention Tip #11
If you must use cosmetics, use those labeled non-comedogenic. At all costs, avoid cosmetics that are oil based.
Acne Prevention Tip #12
Avoid environmental dirt and dust. But if you are exposed to these elements, gently wash your skin as soon as possible.
Acne Prevention Tip #13
Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15, even when it’s cloudy. Be sure to re-apply when necessary. Having acne prone skin makes it very important to avoid sunburn.
Acne Prevention Tip #14
Wear loose fitting clothes if body acne is an issue. In this way, you avoid creating friction which might cause trauma to the skin’s hair follicles and opening the path to acne.
Acne Prevention Tip #15
Get plenty of fresh air, and follow generally accepted practices of adequate sleep, liquids and diet to maintain a healthy body.
Following these 15 acne prevention tips will help to prevent or lessen any acne outbreaks.
Acne Treatment – Best Ways To Treat Acne
Acne is not considered a life-threatening condition, but its effects can range from mild to quite severe. Some kind of acne treatment should always be instituted when outbreaks occur. A dermatologist is the professional doctor best qualified to diagnose your condition, and give you valuable information about acne, its causes, cure, and the course of acne treatment your case should follow.
In addition to the physical and emotional trauma acne can cause, it can also leave permanent scarring if appropriate acne treatment is not begun.
Some of the most common options for acne treatment you might consider include:
Topical Acne Treatment
Retin-A is a common acne treatment. It is a topical medication derived from Vitamin A. It acts by increasing cell turnover and releasing plugs from the hair follicles. Retin-A is well known for improving the general appearance and texture of the affected skin as well as lessening wrinkles.
Retin-A can cause excessive skin dryness which could progress to something more serious. Retin-A is an acne treatment prescribed by doctors. There are some cosmetics you might have seen that contain very small amounts.
Benzoyl peroxide is an over-the-counter medication for acne treatment which causes the skin to peel, and it alters the skin fats and bacteria. It is very useful and often is sufficient for mild cases of acne.
Tretinoin is an acne treatment prescription drug derived from Vitamin A which alters the growth of oil glands. It should be applied once a day to dry up pimples and keep others from forming.
Antibiotics – there are various prescription antibiotics used in acne treatment. They are mainly used for treating inflammed acne.
acne treatment symbol
Oral Medications for Acne Treatment
Tetracyline is an antibiotic that can be taken for acne treatment for a long time without causing side effects. It does cause sensitivity to sunlight, so appropriate precautions should be taken when you are outside. This is a acne treatment drug that should not be taken during pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects.
Accutane is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A used for acne treatment. It is very powerful, and in some cases will eliminate the acne problem. But it can also cause side effects such as itching, headaches, muscle pain and hair loss. It is not to be taken by pregnant women because it, too, can cause birth defects.
Physical acne treatment
Exfoliation is an acne treatment that removes the top layer of skin chemically or by using abrasion. Agents used in this procedure are salicylic acid or glycolic acid, both of which destroy a microscopic layer of skin cells to unplug pores and remove dead cell build up.
Glycolic acid treatments can be done every 2-4 weeks over a six-month period. Salicylic acid treatments are milder and are often found in over-the-counter medications. They can be used daily in acne treatment, but precautions and instructions spelled out on the label pertaining to acne treatment should be closely followed.
Extraction – This is an acne treatment in which comodones (blackheads and whiteheads) are removed by a dermatologist. The procedure includes anesthetizing the skin using a topical application, followed by removing the plugged skin cells and sebum with a sterile pen-like instrument. An antibiotic cream is applied to the lesion after the procedure to lessen the chance of infection.
This is an acne treatment procedure that should only be done by a qualified dermatologist.
Drainage – This is an acne treatment used in severe cases only. Severe acne sometimes causes cysts to form under the skin which are very painful and disfiguring. Small cysts are treated with cortisone injections which flatten the lesions within a day or so. Large cysts usually have to be drained in a dermatologist’s office under sterile conditions. Acne treatments using drainage assist in relieving the pain associated with cysts as well as reduce chances of scarring.
Your doctor or skin specialist is the best person to consult about physical acne treatments, and which one is best for you.
What is Adult Acne
Nearly one-fourth of all adult men and one-half of all adult women have some form of adult acne. Although acne is associated more with teenagers, adults of all ages can be afflicted.
Adult acne is a malady that can effect all levels of a person’s life. The pimples can be disfiguring, leading to a negative self-image, depression, and social isolation, among other things. Adult acne can be treated and managed sucessfully, but the course of treatment of adult acne must be consistent and can be prolonged.
Causes of Adult Acne
All acne, including adult acne, starts from plugged hair follicles in your skin. These hair follicles contain sebaceous glands that secrete a fatty oil known as sebum which serves as a lubricate for hair and skin. The normal follicle is lined with cells that age, die and exit the pores of the skin. This cycle is repeated over and over. Adult acne occurs when the skin pores become blocked with cellular debris and sebum cannot escape through the blocked pore onto the skin surface. The primary lesions of adult acne that result are known as whiteheads or comodones, which are made up of a collection of dead cells, sebum and bacteria that clog the shaft of the hair follicle. When exposed to air, comodones darken, and we call them blackheads.
Other factors that contribute to the onset and progression of adult acne include:
- Genetics – adult acne tends to run in families. If both parents had adult acne, three out of four of the children will usually have it, too.
- Stress is known to aggravate adult acne pimples.
- Certain food allergies seem to trigger adult acne outbreaks.
- Improper sun exposure contribute to adult acne.
- Seasonal changes can trigger adult acne.
- Oily skin care products contribute to adult acne outbreaks.
- Improper skin care can lead to adult acne.
- Hormone levels can be causative factors in adult acne.
- Certain medication side effects cause adult acne pimples.
- How is Adult Acne Diagnosed
- It is not hard to diagnose adult acne because of the characteristic pimple-like pustules with whitehead and blackheads. There can also be inflammation and infections of these pustules. Pimple-like pustules alone would indicate other skin diseases or a reaction to medications, but not adult acne. Always consult a professional doctor when in doubt.
Treating Adult Acne
Adult acne may require protracted, diligent treatment, including the following steps:
Identifying and avoiding everything that aggravates your adult acne
follow your dermatologist’s advice about removing the blackheads that are a part of adult acne. It usually should be done by professionals only
use the proper adult acne cleansing agents that dry your skin enough to cause minor shedding so that the follicular plugs will flake
use proper over-the-counter adult acne medications or those prescribed by your dermatologist
Adult acne is not life-threatening, but patience and persistent care are required for its management.
Baby Acne – Acne in Babies and Infants
Baby Acne – Incidence and Causes
Baby acne is a fairly common condition. In fact, about one-third of all newborn babies develop baby acne, usually after their third week of life. In some infants, the baby acne disappears in a matter of weeks. In others, it may last for up to six months.
The baby acne pimples usually appear somewhere on the baby’s face, usually on the cheeks, but are often found on the forehead and chin. The cause of baby acne appears to be related to maternal hormones that cross the placenta before the baby’s birth. The etiology of baby acne is excess oil trapped in the pores of the skin.
Although no parent wants to see pimples on their baby, they should understand it is not an illness and is not life-threatening. Baby acne is only temporary.
Baby Acne Treatment
Doctors usually recommend no special treatment for baby acne. The baby should be bathed as usual, using a clean, soft washcloth and mild, hypoallergenic baby bathing product.
If the baby acne appears to worsen, or doesn’t clear up within a few weeks, you might consider consulting your pediatrician. However, remember, in some cases baby acne can last up to six months.
Child Acne – Acne in Childhood and Adolescence
Child and Adolescent Acne
Acne can be described as numerous pimples, which appear and disappear, that have the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads or red lumps. Acne usually begins about the time a child enters puberty. Before that time, there might be a few occasional outbreaks of pimples, but it is late childhood/early teenage years that acne might persist.
Acne pimples are the result of clogged hair follicles which become inflamed. The inflammation is usually caused by more oil (sebum) being produced than can exit the follicles. This sets up a situation where (1) the oil blocks the follicle which is known as a whitehead, or (2) the plug extends to the surface of the skin and is exposed to air which causes it to darken or turn black and is called a blackhead.
Prevalence of Child Acne
Acne is so common in adolescence that most children in this age group have it to some degree. Its course usually runs from puberty to the end of the teen years. Acne in its true form is not seen in young children because they do not have the hormones necessary for the acne to develop.
Child acne is more common in boys than girls. When girls have acne, it tends to worsen around the time of their menstrual periods. In both boys and girls, acne is related to surges in hormone production. These particular androgen hormones occur normally in both boys and girls but to different extents. They are responsible for the sebaceous glands producing extra oil.
Prevention and Treatment of Child Acne
Because of the hormonal activities causing increased productions of sebum, it probably is not possible to prevent acne pimples from forming. However, most child acne responds well to over-the-counter products containing benzol peroxide. Benzol peroxide is available in a number of different lotions and cremes from several manufacturers.
Read all the labels carefully and compare brands as to ingredients and price. Practice the usual precautions when using topical medications – test on a small area first and be watchful for any reactions.
A healthy diet which restricts sugars and fats — exercise, gentle, daily skin care routines using a mild facial cleanser should be part of the treatment plan to shorten the acne outbreaks and curtail their severity.
Lastly, acne is never pleasant for anyone, and certainly not for a child/adolescent. It is a time for parents to be especially helpful and understanding as your child goes through this (and certainly other) stages in life.
Teen Acne – Coping With Teenage Acne
Causes of Teen Acne
Acne in teens is caused in the same way as acne in adults. Namely, when the skin’s sebaceous glands pump oils known as sebum (along with dead cells) through your pores faster than they can exit from a pore, a solidified plug called a whitehead forms. If the pore stays open, the surface of the plug darkens becoming a blackhead. The process of producing oil to lubricate the hair and skin is a normal one, but when it gets out of whack, acne occurs.
In a whitehead ruptures the wall of a pore, bacteria becomes a factor and causes what is known as a pimple. And, it progresses from there — before you know it, inflammed pimples are all over.
The amount of sebum secreted varies quite a bit in different areas of the skin. The most active sebaceous glands are located in the scalp, followed by the forehead, face, chest and upper back. Except for the scalp, these areas are the most frequent place where acne is found.
Additional Factors Causing Teenage Acne
As part of the maturing process, the sebaceous glands at puberty increase in size and secrete more sebum because of the influence of increasing amounts of sex hormones, called androgen hormones, and are found in both males and females.
Teen Acne and Stress
Teenage years are turbulent, at best. These are the years usually between 13 and 19 when teens are having many physical and psychological changes that often cause confusion within themselves and conflicts with parental authority. They begin to be influenced less by family and more by peers. Even the composition of the peer group changes during this time from members of their own sex to mixed groups.
Teens are super-sensitive, emotional, moody add acne (especially if it is severe), and the stress might seem too much to bear. Very concerned about appearance and conforming to their peer group standards, a teenager with acne may be overly self-conscious about looks. Acne is not attractive, but at this stage, all thoughts and feelings tend to be exaggerated. The teen can feel ugly, ostracized, alone, and lonely, not being able to fit in with peers. This is a very stressful time for the teen and the family. The teen feelings of estrangement from his/her peers has an tremendous negative impact on the family life. Higher rates of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem have all been linked with the presence of acne.
The burdens the teen feels at this time could lead to poor attendance in school, lack of participation in classroom activities and culminate in totally unacceptable behavior.
Teen Acne and Parents
Parents must realize that the teenage years are times of major transitions in their child’s life. The teen with acne is very difficult to deal with. There is no doubt about that. Parents, also, are having a difficult time dealing with what is going on with the teen and its effect of everyone concerned. They are also making big adjustments and coping with the many changes in their teen’s life.
This is a time that parents should be as supportive as possible. There is a line between being supportive and conveying negative feelings to the teen, i.e., feeling sorry and crippling to the teen about the situation. Parent might try to learn everything possible about teens and teens with acne through reading books, specialty periodicals, speaking with other parents having similar problems, school guidance counsellors, etc. — whatever a particular situation requires.
Treating Teen Acne
Treating teen acne should be treated in the same way acne in adults is treated. However, emphasis might be place on:
- healthy diet
- plenty of exercise
- drink liquids
- practice good skin care habits
- Although most teen acne can be managed with over-the-counter medicines, parents might want to consider taking their teen with acne to a dermatologist. This might help the teen realize that the acne condition will improve. Also, the doctor might be the authority figure the teen needs at this juncture. He/she might have confidence in the specialist which would go a long way in reducing stress and other untoward emotions.
Acne Rosacea – What Is Acne Rosacea and How To Treat It
Acne rosacea is a chronic skin disorder which mainly affects the face. The affliction usually starts between the ages of 30 and 50, and is most commonly seen in women.
Appearance of Acne Rosacea
Acne rosacea has quite a unique appearance. When it first appears, it affects the nose or the cheeks. Later, it can spread, involving the chin and forehead. The skin affected by acne rosacea turns red, and surface blood vessels become permanently dilated. In addition, acne-like pimples commonly appear, and there may be a slight burning sensation in the affected area.
Causes of Acne Rosacea
Although at times more than one member of a family has acne rosacea, no genetic basis for this has been found. It is most commonly seen in the fair-skinned decendants of North Europe who have the common trait of blushing easily. People with black skin rarely have acne rosacea. Unlike acne, acne rosacea does not involve blackheads or over active oil glands.
Alcohol, spices and hot foods seems to temporarily aggravate the flushed appearance of acne rosacea, but they are not the primary cause.
Complications of Acne Rosacea
There are several complications associated with acne rosacea, and some of them are severe:
Eye irritation often occurs in acne rosacea from inflammation of the eyelashes or the outer surface of the eyes.
The clear membrane covering the lens (cornea) can become inflammed leading to visual impairment. However, this is a rare complication of acne rosacea.
Occasionally, the skin of the nose becomes irregularly thickened and bulb-like in a person who has acne rosacea. The color of the nose can range from bright red to purple. This is unsightly and can be devastating to the person suffering from this complication known as rhinophyma. This acne rosasea complication (bulbous nose) happens mainly in men, and occurs in only the most severe cases. Sometimes, this extreme appearance is the only sign of acne rosacea.
acne rosacea image
Acne Rosacea Treatment Options
Acne rosacea is not life threatenig, but it does seriously affect your appearance. There is no cure for the acne rosacea. But, its acne-like symptoms can be controlled by the same topical and systemic medications used to commonly treat acne. Long-term oral use of low doses of antibiotics such as tetracycline can be very helpful in allaying the symptoms and progression of acne rosacea.
If antibiotics are not helping, doctors may prescribe Isotretinoin, a vitamin A derivative to treat acne rosacea. Laser treatments can help eliminate some of the persistent symptoms and improve the appearance of the complexion.
Tips & Suggestions for Coping With Acne Rosacea
Be aware of the factors that aggravate your acne rosacea, i.e., food, alcohol, caffeine, etc.
Always protect your skin from the sun.
People with acne rosacea should avoid using make-up.
Get advice and treatment for your acne rosacea from a professional medical doctor.
Prescription Acne Medications
Prescription Acne Medications
Although many people will try to manage mild cases of acne themselves with over-the-counter medicines, when the disease is moderate to severe, a professional doctor should be consulted for advice and treatment.
The usual course of action includes prescription acne medications which are generallly stronger and more effective than what is available over-the-counter. Prescription medicine can be oral or topical or a combination of the two. Antibiotics and retinoids, which are a Vitamin A derivative, are the most common.
Tetracycline is the most common prescribed antibiotic used to treat acne. It kills the bacteria causing the acne and reduces any inflammation. Treatment with antibiotics can take a long time to be effective — sometimes weeks to months. Also, the treatment probably will have to continue even after the acne condition clears up.
Tetracycline usually causes the skin to be more sensitive to sunlight which can result in severe sunburn. So it is imperative to take proper precautions when outside. Other side effects from this medicine include upset stomach, dizziness and hives. Any unusual or untoward reactions should be immediately reported to your doctor.
Women taking tetracycline often suffer from increased bouts of vaginal yeast. Note: Pregnant women and children under 12 should avoid taking tetracycline altogether because it discolors growing teeth.
Prescribed Antibiotic ointments are not prone to the complications and side effects seen in oral medicines. And they can be used with good results in killing the acne causing bacteria.
Retinoids are a prescription acne medicine that can be applied directly to the skin in the form of a lotion or cream. Topical retinoid medications are used most often to treat blackheads and whiteheads by helping to open clogged pores. Using this medication, however, can cause the skin to become unusually dry.
Oral retinoids are used for more serious cases of acne that are not responding to other treatments. Oral retinoids work by causing the skin’s upper layer to peel which opens pores. Also, they cause the body to produce less sebrum.
Note: Neither oral tetracycline or oral retinoids should be taken during pregnancy. The Vitamin A preparation in particular is recognized as causing birth defects. These harmful birth defects are likely to occur during the very early stages of pregnancy, even befor you are aware you are pregnant. Therefore, it is wise not to use it if you are not using birth control measures
other prescription medications used to treat acne
Birth control pills are sometimes the prescription medication chosen for acne treatment in women. They work by changing the harmone levels in the body and can reduce the acne causing effects of testosterone.
For acne that is out of control, a drug called Isotretinoin may be prescribed. It is the most powerful acne remedy on the market today. It is also the most hazardous. It can cause itching, headaches, muscle pain and hair loss. It also can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. So, this prescription acne medicine is not for everyone. But in very severe cases, it can give relief when nothing else can.
In conclusion, if you are suffering with anything more than the mildest bout of acne, you should consult a dermatologist for advice, course of treatment and prescription medications.
Safe Acne Treatment – During Pregnancy
Are there any safe acne treatments during pregnancy?
most likely that acne during pregnancy is caused by an increase in hormones. For this reason, it is not uncommon for a woman to develop acne during pregnancy even is she has never had it before. While you might really want to stop these outbreaks, it is important that you consult a professional before you use any chemicals for acne treatment during pregnancy –even if acne medications have been prescribed for you in the past by a dermatologist.
Certain drugs, such as Retin A, can have harmful side effects on pregnant women and the unborn child, even if they can solve your acne problems.
However, there are some safe acne treatments you can use during pregnancy. The key to finding the right product for you is to be patient and reading labels very carefully when you are perusing your options at the pharmacy.
One well known and relatively safe acne treatment for pregnant women is topical benzoyl peroxide lotion or gel. You can purchase this without a doctor’s prescription. Benzoyl peroxide will kill the bacteria that causes acne, unclog pores, and heal pimples. It is also completely safe to use, provided you use it in small portions at a time. However, you should double check the product you selected to see if it contains any other chemicals that might be harmful to your baby.
Your best advice is to is to find out which benzoyl peroxide treatments, if any, your obstetrician approves for you during pregnancy. Your doctor will let you know what treatment is safest and best for you and your child.
If you can’t find anything that is completely safe, you may be better off not taking an acne medication, but strictly following routine health routines such as:
- eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day
- getting adequate sleep
- following a daily acne skin care routine
- keeping stress levels to a minimum
After all, your baby is your first consideration–and your complexion is not even a distant second.
After you have the baby, you will want to reassess your acne situation. For some women, pregnancy-related acne will go away after birth. For others, it can last years if not treated. If you are one of these women, you should consult a dermatologist for the best solution.
Acne Creams – Topical Acne Treatment
Acne Creams – First Choice of Most
Most people initially seek over-the-counter medications of some sort, usually an acne cream, when acne pimples become a problem. They look to the advice of family or friends or maybe even an advertisement seen on television.
Even though acne is not a life-threatening condition, a doctor or, in some cases, a pharmacist are best qualified to recommend the best course of treatment you should follow for your type of acne. An acne cream that works for one person is not guaranteed to work for another.
Over-the-counter acne creams are the most popular topical medicines for treating mild cases of acne. The acne creams commonly used contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid as the active ingredient. They are sold as lotions, ointments, liquids and gels.
Benzoyol peroxide is the most versatile and widely used ingredient in topical acne medications. It is a safe and effective medicine for these skin lesions. The water-based gel form is thought to be less likely to irritate the skin. This medicine works by drying up the oils in your skin and promoting peeling.
This is how the medicine should be used:
Be extremely careful not to get benzoyl peroxide in your eyes, mouth or nose as it will cause irritation and/or inflammation.
After thorough, gentle cleansing, spread a thin layer of benzoyl peroxide over the area
use it once a day initially, then increase the usage to two or three times daily.
Benzoyl peroxide is used in cleansing bars and liquids in addition to lotions, creams and gels mentioned previously.
It may take some time to experience real improvement in your acne condition using this treatment. Once you realize that, you will not be discouraged with the course of action. Drying out of the skin is the most frequent side effect associated with benzoyl peroxide.
Basic Steps for Treating Acne
The basic four steps in treating acne include:
know everything that aggravates your acne and completely avoid using them
follow your doctor’s advice about removing blackheads and pimples or have this done by professionals
use a cleansing soap that dries out your skin enough to cause minor shedding so that the follicular plugs flake
facilitate skin peeling within your follicles by using acne cream medications.
Clear Light Acne Treatment
ClearLight – New Treatment Option For Acne
For those acne sufferers seeking a better acne treatment procedure, clearlight acne treatment just might be what you are looking for. It is reported to have very few, if any, side effects.
Benefits of ClearLight
- this is a light based system effective for clearing acne
- the light penetrates and kills the bacteria from within the skin
- acne bacteria is killed at its roots
- helps reduce further outbreaks (a common complaint with other treatments)
- focus is on acne-affected areas, and does not damage surrounding skin
- procedure is painless
- there is no down time
- can be used to treat all areas of the body
- course of treatment – eight sessions over a four week period
- The treatment is very expensive and maintenance treatments might be required.
Do your research and consult with professionals in the field. Compare your options. This might be the treatment for you.