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Acne

Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin. There are three different versions of acne; acne vulgaris, acne conglobata, and acne rosacea. It usually affects the; forehead, nose, chin, neck, arms, and trunk of the body. The physical manifestation of acne occurs in the tiny hair follicles on the body.

Your skin, the largest organ on your body, needs to be moist. It is designed to allow certain elements to enter and exit through the skin. There are a series of events that will occur to lead to the appearance of acne.

  • The skin produces wax and oil, called sebum. This is important in maintaining the skins moisture level.
  • There is also a bacteria called, Propionibacterium acnes, that is found on the skin surface. This bacteria encourages hair growth, and considers sebum oil to be a nutrient. When a young man, for example, comes of age and enters puberty, his hormones change. Similar yet obviously, differing hormonal changes occur in women as well. This accounts for the adolescent surge in acne in both genders.
  • The male hormone, testosterone, begins to cause bodily changes. With relation to acne, it produces hair growth, and keratin. Keratin is a harder layer of skin and can be found on the soles of your feet or palms. This type of skin tissue can cause the pore to become clogged.
  • When the pore becomes clogged, the inflammation sets in and white blood cells are called to the scene.
  • The white blood cells can cause damage to the lining of the hair follicle causing the clogged hair follicle to seep deeper into the skin layers.
  • The clogged pores have no oxygen supply, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and the progression of this chronic disease.
  • For some acne prone people, the testosterone in their body may not be the problem. The real problem may be that they have higher levels of an enzyme called, 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone to a more potent version; increasing hair growth and oil production.

While this explanation describes the physical reaction your body has to acne. It does not explain the reason why it all begins. There are many facts on who gets it and all the different types of acne; zits, pustules, cysts, nodules, etc… We know that no one is un-susceptible; it mostly affects people in between 11 – 30 years of age. 85% of adolescents and young adults are affected by acne. With acne rosacea, a significantly different variant of acne, it occurs also commonly in the middle aged and even elderly. It is also believed acne rosacea may also be triggered by other underlying factors. It doesn’t affect the very young or the very old often because the hormone levels are different. It can be an embarrassing and life limiting condition. Other reasons for acne may be:

  • Genetics. If one family member has it, chances are another member will also have it.
  • Hormones. Everyone needs to maintain a balance of hormones. When the male sex hormone takes over, with puberty, menstruation, or menopause, it produces more pore clogging oil and hair.
  • Stress, affects your hormone production, and in turn affects your acne.
  • Oil. Some people naturally make more sebum oil than others, and are prone to acne.
  • Irritants. There are many ways your facial skin can become irritated; scratching or picking at it can inflame the skin and increase the risk of getting more breakouts.
  • Steroid Use. The use of steroids encourages acne because of the fluctuation in hormone levels.
  • Toxic Build-up. We are exposed to increasing levels of toxins everyday. Certain chemicals can negatively affect your skins’ health.
  • Also a poor diet that is higher in sugar and processed foods can weaken the immune system that naturally combats microbes, including the bacteria that contribute to acne. Remember, you are what you eat, and all your body’s systems are fueled from the food you consume or not.

The medical community is continuing to seek answers as to why the skins’ secretion process breaks down. There are many people who may tell you that dirt on your face, or eating chocolate and fried foods will cause acne. There is little evidence that these are related. However, having an unhealthy diet is not congruent with a clear complexion.

Stress plays an important part in how you are affected by acne. When stress impacts your life it has consequences. It may manifest itself physically, mentally, or emotionally. It is a fact that your hormones are directly affected by your emotions, and in turn your emotions are directly affected by your hormones. Living in a stressful situation can cause your hormones to react by producing too much sebum and keratin which can lead to a skin breakout. Or, stress may be felt by having a skin breakout and it makes it worse. However stress plays a part in your skin health, it can be an indicator that your skin needs your attention. Stress will also lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to outbreaks, since the body is in a weakened state of existence.

To date, there is no known cure for acne. However, there are many different treatments and preventative methods. Basically, the treatment methods are; ingestion, and topical. If you are so inclined to take a prescription, there are antibiotics available through doctors. There are also many different alternatives like home remedies, over the counter products, acupuncture, ayurveda, and naturopathy. Each of these alternative medicines supports prevention.

Prevention starts with the simplicity of washing your face. However, there are specific things you must do to wash your face correctly. Do not over wash; you only need to wash it in the morning and at night. Avoid washing your face with soap; try a non-comodogenic solution, something that will gently wash off dirt or makeup.
Gently dry your face with a soft towel, pat dry. Do not rub your face; it will irritate your skin. At this point you may choose to apply a topical cream or gel. The two most widely used topical treatments are benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin (Retin-A), a concentrated ointment of Vitamin A.

There are also people who promote colon health as an internal problem for acne. With the build up of toxins and inadequate elimination, the colon can become saturated and acne results. This may mean an internal cleanse could be beneficial for you. Remember what you don’t eliminate you reabsorb. Think of it this way…if you miss a bowel movement for a day or two, it becomes firmer and harder to pass. What happens to all that moisture (toxic waste water, hormones, and stuff) that was in your stool? It gets reabsorbed back into your body.

Summary

There are many people who are prone to acne, an inflammatory skin condition. There are a number of contributors to the health of your skin. New developments are showing how detrimental stress is to your overall health. In order to combat all these factors, there are many preventative methods available. It is highly advised to consult a medical professional if seeking a prevention and treatment plan.

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