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Acne - The Word Strike Fear Into 85% Of Adolescents And Adults!
It can range in severity from a single pimple on the forehead of the prom queen (causing much distress of course) to a very severe case like what the fellow I work with has. He does not have a square centimeter of space of his face that is clear skin. Whiteheads abound and well, you get the idea. As a result, he suffers from a severe lack of self esteem. Our technicians bring their own keyboard when they work on his system as his is just too oily to use.
What Cause’s it?
The main cause of acne is a plugging or sealing of hair follicles. When these follicles are plugged in the open position, they form blackheads and in the closed position, whiteheads. Either way, they can grow painful and cause scarring if not properly treated. This could bring the self esteem problems into adulthood also, causing depression and even (in rare cases) suicide.
This plugging could be caused by a number of reasons as well. Heredity, puberty and stress all play roles in the process. One popular misconception is that acne is caused by dirt. This is actually based on the idea that blackheads look like little specks of dirt on the skin. The fact is most blackheads occur deep in the skin (you just see the “head” of the issue) and no amount of scrubbing will make them go away.
What about Diet?
It has not been proven yet, but most say that the foods you eat also play a role. Recent research has revealed that there may be some validity to this and recommend the following:
1) Avoid Milk and other dairy products like cottage cheese, and cream cheese
2) Instant breakfast drink (which usually uses milk)
3) Sherbet (This surprised me too!)
All three of these can cause a rise in keratin in the body. This is usually the chemical that hardens and causes plugging of the pores.
4) Seafood – These usually contain high levels of iodine which can cause an outbreak to get worse. (there’s rarely enough to CAUSE an outbreak)
5) Avoid refined sugars, processed foods and foods with a high carbohydrate level (power bars, Energy drinks, etc). Carbs are converted to glucose in the body and eating too much of it can cause a glucose overload. The increased levels of sugar in your system, causes more of keratin to be produced… etc… And for all you choco-holics out there, the American Medical Association as proven that chocolate has nothing to do with the onset of acne! YEAH!!
6) Some research has found that those with outbreaks have a low level of vitamin A and vitamin E in their system and hints that if you eat a diet rich in the vitamins, it will stop the onset and possibly even reverse its affects.
So What DOES help?
There are many treatments for acne on the market today, most of which have little or no real value in the treatment of acne. So you must be careful what you purchase. Make sure they have a history of working and that the chemicals aren’t toxic to your skin (except to the germs causing the acne).
1) One effective treatment for acne contains benzoyl peroxide. Usually used in about a 10% cream, the cream has to be applied daily for 2 weeks before any improvement can be seen and for up to 3 months before the acne is as close to “cured” as it will be. It does have its side effects however, as it will cause dry skin and possible redness and irritation. Also, you have to be careful to keep it away from your hair and clothes as the peroxide in it is bleach and it will bleach your hair and stain your clothes. Something to be aware of…
2) There are also a couple of antibacterial creams that are used for treating acne. Though less affective, though they do have fewer side effects than the peroxide and won’t turn your clothes/hair white.
3) Oral antibiotics are also available that can be taken from 1 – 3 times a day (depending on the drug). The thing to remember with these is that just destroying the bacteria will not stop the oil secretion and abnormal cell behavior that caused the break out in the first place. Be sure to check with your doctor when he gives you one of these to see what you can do to stop the other causes of this hateful condition.
I hope this article has given you some hope and shown you that there are treatments on the horizon that will help you and many others like you in years to come.
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