Monday, January 11, 2010
Acne - What Causes Acne?
Though acne may not be a serious problem, it can sometimes lead to psychological and mental stress. Many people lose their self esteem because of this problem. So what causes acne? Acne is caused by hormonal disorder. Excessive secretion of the skin oil glands combine with naturally occurring dead skin cells and block the hair follicles. This oil secretion beneath the blocked pore provides a perfect environment for the skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes to multiply, and thus the skin inflames producing the visible lesion. Acne commonly occurs in adolescents and young adults. Almost 85 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point. Acne tends to go away by the time you reach your thirties, but for some people it may even go up to their forties and fifties. Causes of Acne: Several other factors that cause Acne are: • Hormonal changes during menstrual cycles and puberty. • Stress, as it causes an increase in output of hormones from the adrenal glands. • Hyperactive sebaceous glands, secondary to the three hormone sources above. • Build-up of dead skin cells. • Bacteria in the pores. • Skin irritation or scratching of any sort will activate inflammation. • Use of anabolic steroids. • Medicines that contain halogens (iodides, chlorides, bromides), lithium, barbiturates, or androgens. • Sudden exposure to high levels of chlorine compounds, particularly chlorinated dioxins. Adult acne: 25% of adult men and 50% of adult women get affected by adult acne at some time in their adult lives. It can cause depression and social anxiety the same way it can in a teenager. Adult acne is more common than people may think. The causes of adult acne are unknown; however it is believed to occur because of these reasons: • Recurrence of acne that cleared up after adolescence • Flare-up of acne after a period of relative quiet, especially during pregnancy It is best to consult a dermatologist for the proper treatment. You would have to use Clear Skin Regimen using benzoyl peroxide. Treatment for adult acne is the same as treatment for teen acne. Body acne: Body acne is a common problem which occurs mostly on the chest, back and buttocks. Like facial acne, stress and hormones are the cause. Other factors like perspiration and wearing tight fitting clothing also causes body acne. Tight-fitting clothing traps perspiration against the skin and mixes with surface oils, thus clogging the pores and causing blemishes. Treatments: The treatment is aimed at healing the existing lesions, stopping new lesions from forming, and preventing scarring. The dermatologist would prescribe several over-the-counter (OTC) medicines depending on the extent of the problem. Some of the medicines would be topical to apply on the skin and others may be oral. Some of the common OTC topical medicines are: • Benzoyl peroxide – This helps to destroy acne and also reduces oil production. • Resorcinol – This helps in breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. • Salicylic acid – This helps in breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. It also cuts down the shedding of cells lining the hair follicles. • Sulfur - This helps in breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. The prescription topical medicines include: • Antibiotics - They help slow or stop the growth of bacteria and reduce inflammation. • Vitamin A derivatives – They help in unplugging the existing comedones, thus allowing other topical medicines to enter the follicles. • Others - Benzoyl peroxide, sodium sulfacetamide/sulfur or Azelaic acid help to reduce oil production or help stop or slow the growth of bacteria and reduce inflammation. Following these treatments would cure your acne, and the psychological stress and embarrassment caused by this disease will also go away.