The human skin contains sebaceous glands that emit an oily substance just beneath its surface.
The oily substance, called sebum, helps keep the skin moist, smooth and soft. An over-activity of the secretion of this oily substance onto the skin causes the skin to break out; and combining this with the clogging of dead skin cells on the skin, blackheads and whiteheads form and progress into pimples or acne.
Acne is a very common skin disorder that affects nearly 90% of the human population. Men are more prone to these attacks because they undoubtedly have more oily skin than women. Depending on the skin type and environmental causes, some acne is easier to treat than others. Severe acne sometimes even causes cysts to develop underneath the skin.
The real cause of acne is unknown but many point to the following factors as possibly affecting the skin problem:
– Many modern ailments, from acne to cancer, are often caused by carelessness in a person’s eating habits. A recent research indicates that too much carbohydrates and sugar leads to an excess production of insulin in the body, which then leads the skin to excrete more amounts of sebum. Eating more bread and pasta, for example, causes that kind of chemical reaction inside the body; while fruits and vegetables are natural antioxidants that clean up our system and remove toxins from our body, including excessive oil.
– In the same manner that diet seemingly causes acne to develop, the lack or deficiency in vitamins and minerals may contribute to this skin problem from erupting. Our skin needs to be rid of toxins everyday, and when our diet is not enough to do this, taking vitamins and minerals will help alleviate the problem.
– Our own body’s biological make up is a factor that supposedly causes acne, too. At puberty, our body changes and our hormones rise to excrete more sebum, causing acne to appear. This is quite a normal occurrence as every human being undergoes puberty. But some skin types tend to be more sensitive than normal. Apart from this, our genetics may also be another factor as acne may be inherited from our elders. If one of our parents had severe acne problems during puberty, it may likely be the case with us as well.
– The stress our bodies undergo results to physiologic effects that may somehow lead to development of acne. Stress also causes hormonal imbalance that triggers excessive development of oil inside our system.
An acne problem worsens when any of these factors happen:
• Taking contraceptive pills or any specialized medicine
• Taking steroids
• Using not acne specific foundations
• Onset of menstrual cycle
• Squeezing out the spot
There are a number of treatments one can do to remove acne. Not all treatment work to completely cure the disorder but many can prevent new acne from developing. Some treatments even help prevent scarring. An healthy diet, complemented by vitamins supplements is also required.
A basic home treatment may be immediately applied to the affected area, with the use of an unscented cleaning agent like an astringent or a cleanser, or face wash. Soaps are not recommended as this may aggravate the infection.
Drugstores have plenty of over the counter ointments for mild acne. These ointments contain benzoyl peroxide, which helps dry the skin and makes it harder for pores to be blocked. Take note though that benzoyl peroxide is a strong ingredient that may cause redness and even skin peeling.
When the acne is already severely infected, prescription medicine is recommended. This may be in a form of topical or oral medicine. Some prescription medicine include
• Topical retinoids – which contains Vitamin A. This could be in a form of lotion, ointment or cream and may be required to be applied on the affected area regularly.
• Oral antibiotics like tetracycline or isotretonin – which is best for inflamed acne. Using oral antibiotics can take months before the effects are noticed. It doesn’t also prevent blockage so a separate treatment for blackheads may be used together with this. Isotretonin, however, must be prescribed with utmost care as this can also be considered as a dangerous drug.