Acne: What Causes It and What Treatments Are Available?

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 No Commented
Categorized Under: Acne

Waking up with little mysterious friends on your face and not know where they came from? Acne can appear at any point, more commonly it frequents the faces of young teens undergoing puberty. However, adult onset acne is just as common.

There are some common causes and actually some myths about these causes which we can clear up.

Overproduction of sebum or oil (Fact) – oil can at some points become overabundant due to some factors such as hormones. Oil typically travels up hair follicles and when these hair follicles become clogged the oil has nowhere to excrete

Dead skin cells that shed abnormally and result in the hair follicles on your skin to become irritated (Fact) – when skin cells shed abnormally they can fall back into the actual pore of the hair follicle causing it to become clogged which causes oil and bacteria buildup.

Eating greasy foods (Fiction) – Unless you are constantly rubbing french fries on your face, eating greasy foods isn’t going to give you acne. Although there are ongoing studies that show that super starchy foods which increase blood sugar could potentially cause an increase of acne.

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Only people that don’t wash their face get acne (Fiction) – Having a dirty face really doesn’t have much to do with having acne. In fact, over cleaning may actually cause your skin to produce even more oil. However, being able to keep dead skin cells clear from your face might help the cause a little.

Buildup of bacteria (Fact) – When bacteria are built up in your hair follicles with nowhere to go it in turn clogs the pore which causes acne irritation.

What Type of Acne Treatments Are Available?

There are a plethora of acne treatments available either over the counter or by prescription. Depending on the severity and the actual cause of your problem you and your doctor should discuss which type of acne treatment may be right for you.

  • Over the counter treatments - over the counter acne treatments typically come in the form of lotions. These lotions actually have the job of drying up any excess oil that may be being produced. These lotions can also kill bacteria and help the process of taking off dead skin cells. This topical acne treatment has very mild side effects such as mild skin irritation along with drying and flaking. These side effects typically dissipate after the first month of use.
  • Prescription strength treatments - if you have tried over the counter acne treatments and they don’t seem to work the next step could be getting a prescription from your doctor. These are basically the same as the over the counter treatments just kicked up a notch. Sometimes more than one topical ointment will need to be used to get the optimal results. These typically promote cell turnover and help the actual hair follicle from getting clogged up. Yet another topical acne treatment method actually has antibiotic features in it. These antibiotic topical creams kill whatever bacteria may be lurking on your skin. Oral antibiotics are one other way your doctor may try to treat your acne. These oral acne treatments keep the bacteria from accumulating on your skin. Doctors may recommend tapering off of these oral antibiotics gradually after severe systems seem to pass because the body actually builds up a very fast resistance to them.

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