Acne skin careAcne is a common skin problem of people in their teens and twenties. It develops in the oil-producing structures of the skin called pilosebaceous follicles, which are present in large quantities on the face, chest, shoulders and upper back.Each follicle consists of a hair follicle and a sebeceous gland. The glands secrete an oily mixture called sebum, which normally passes through the hair follicle to the skin surface. Acne occurs when the normal route of sebum to the skin surface is
blocked by dead skin cells, bacteria, hormones and extra oil. The obstruction leads to swelling and the development of blackheads, whiteheads, or tender red lumps. Emotional stress, fatigue, humidity and cosmetics may aggravate acne.
Hair follicles normally secrete oil called "sebum" which travels up the tiny hair follicles to the skins pores where it lubricates and protects the skin. Sometimes there are overworked oil glands which enlarge and produce too much sebum which can get trapped in the hair follicle. Clogged pores which are either called blackheads or whiteheads, allow bacteria overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes. This bacteria further inflames the hair follicle and surrounding skin resulting in acne. In severe acne cases lesions become red and inflamed and may be filled with puss. Sometimes this acne can extend deep into the skin and form nodules or cysts. This severe form is called cystic acne and can be painful and cause scarring.
Good skin care plays an important role in treating acne. In general it is best to try the following:
Keep hands off the fact and avoid squeezing the pimples, as this can spread infection and cause permanent scarring. With medical treatment, removing lesions is rarely necessary; however, when comedo removal is needed, it should be performed by an experienced healthcare professional.
Avoid the use of oily cosmetics, moisturizers, and creams. If you wear makeup, look for those with a water base. Remove makeup at night. When buying cosmetics and other products that you will use on your skin or hair, be sure to look for ones labeled “noncomedogenic.” Makeup, sunscreen and toiletries that are not likely to cause acne state that they are “noncomedogenic” on the product.
Eat a balanced diet. In general, it is no longer felt that dietary products have any influence on acne. Chocolate, caffeine or fats are not statistically related to causing acne based on overall studies. There may be some individual differences in that certain foods do flare up acne lesions and if you determine that you are sensitive to something, discontinuing that food is the wisest course of action.
Washing the skin once or twice a day is usually sufficient to remove surface oil, dead skin and dirt, and to keep the skin moderately dry. Do not scrub the skin. Some people with acne may try to stop outbreaks and oil production by scrubbing their skin and using strong detergent soaps and rough scrub pads. However, scrubbing will not improve acne; in fact, it can make the problem worse. There are a variety of soaps that may achieve a moderately dry condition better than others - ask your health care provider for recommendations. Acne is not caused by poor hygiene, and vigorous washing and scrubbing will not clear your skin. In fact, all that scrubbing can irritate your skin and make acne worse. The way to clear acne is with appropriate acne products and good skin care.
Oily hair, sporting equipment that rubs against your skin and airborne grease—all can irritate and make your acne worse. Ways you can avoid these situations include: If you have oily hair, keep it off your face and wash it daily; Avoid using hair care products that contain oil, such as pomades and gels; Wear cotton clothing or moleskin under sporting equipment to avoid skin-to-equipment contact.
Avoid excess exposure to sunlight, and do not use tanning booths or sun lamps.Contrary to popular belief, tanning does not clear acne; it simply masks acne. Tanning also increases one’s risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. Additionally, some acne treatments can increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight and ultraviolet light from tanning booths and sun lamps. If you have acne, it is important to protect your skin by following sun-protection practices, such as wearing sunscreen and avoiding sunburns.
Shave with care, those who shave and who have acne can test both electric and safety razors to see which is more comfortable. Guys who use a safety razor should use a sharp blade and soften their beard thoroughly with soap and water before applying shaving cream. Nicking blemishes can be avoided by shaving lightly and only when necessary.
Acne is treated by trying to control the growth of bacteria and slow down the activity of the oil glands in the skin. Your doctor may prescribe topical antibiotic preparations containing clindamycin or erythromycin which help kill acne bacteria. Remember that they do not effect abnormal skin cell shedding or sebum production so they also have to be used together with other acne preparations. The doctor may prescribe other creams and lotions that normalize the skin shedding and decrease acne production. Sometimes you may be prescribed oral antibiotics such as erythromycin, tetracycline, doxycycline or minocycline.
If a woman has excess male hormone production, this can increase the amount of sebum that is produced. Certain birth control pills that are more estrogenic and less androgenic can decrease sebum production. Other medications may also be used if you have a tendency toward increased hair growth and male hormone type of excess.
Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient in many of the over-the-counter acne topical treatments. It is an antibacterial agent effective against acne-causing bacteria and must be applied once or twice daily for several weeks before it has an effect. Salicylic acid is an ingredient found in many non prescription acne lotions, creams and pads, and it reduces abnormal shedding of the skin cells along the hair follicle. It does not effect sebum production or the acne causing bacteria. It does need to be used daily. Sulfur based soap is a good anti-bacterial soap that produces dry skin.