Managing Acne and Dispelling Myths

Improper hygiene, poor diet, stress and sexual behavior were thought to be causes of acne, but in reality the causes are unclear. What is clear is the cascade of events that form acne. Hair follicles, or pores, become blocked by oil, which normally drains to the surface of the skin.

This blockage occurs way below the skin surface, and causes the pores to collapse. At this point bacteria begin to overgrow, resulting in the formation of a white head. If this trapped oil, and bacteria partially reaches the surface, a black head is formed. Acne affects most teenagers, however this condition is not restricted to any age group; adults get acne as well. In addition, acne can occur on the face, neck, back, chest, shoulders, and upper arms.

While not life threatening, acne has a profound social effect, and if severe enough, can lead to permanent scarring. Avoiding acne is a difficult task; treating acne has become more manageable. Contrary to popular belief, face scrubbing with an abrasive washcloth will cause skin irritation, and worsen the problem. A gentle cleanser twice per day, that does not over dry the skin, would be the better alternative.

Avoid using any bar soaps, which can irritate the area. Research has been done on the efficacy of different antibacterial alternatives. Several studies have shown that a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide solution has a very high acne bacteria kill rate, and is not subject to bacteria tolerance. Applying Benzoyl Peroxide liberally to the infected area should improve the acne within 10 days. It is important that a moisturizer be used in conjunction, since Benzoyl Peroxide does dry the skin.

Further, it is important to check to see if any allergies to Benzoyl Peroxide exist by applying a small amount to the skin, and observe any reactions. Most cases of acne can be easily managed, however there are cases that are extreme, and result in scarring. In cases of extreme acne that cause pain, and scarring it is necessary to see a Dermatologist. Today, virtually every case of acne can be resolved, and future out breaks can be avoided with the appropriate Dermatological care.

Several options are available if scarring does occur. Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure whereby the physician attempts to make scars less noticeable by sanding them using a small hand held tool. This procedure is ideal for shallow imperfections.

Laser Resurfacing works the same as dermabrasion, utilizing a laser rather than a hand held tool. Skin augmentation is a nonsurgical way to remove small skin depressions caused by acne scars. Various materials are injected into or under the skin to raise the surface and make the scar look smooth.

Not only is acne a physical condition, a psychological component is present as well. Acne sufferers can experience, behavioral problems, academic decline, social isolation, substance abuse, depression, even suicide. Teenagers are more vulnerable in this respect because both acne and depressive disorder have a peak incidence during adolescence. Although acne is not a life-threatening disease, appropriate management is vital to its successful resolution.

Jay B Stockman is a contributing editor for Acne Remedies Visit for more information.

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