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I am sure that every one of you is familiar with acne. The term acne is both an official diagnosis, and used to refer in the general sense to skin lesions found most often on the face, shoulders and back. This skin disorder affects millions of people from all walks of life annually. Adolescents are the typical victims of the disorder, but infants and adults are also affected. Commonly known as pimples, zits, blackheads and whiteheads, these unsightly skin lesions don’t necessarily mean you have a skin disease; a dermatologist must make that official diagnosis based on the severity and frequency of the skin lesions. But for this article’s purposes, saying acne will be the common use of the word, not a doctor’s diagnosis.
What are the different skin lesions?
Comedone is the official term for whiteheads and blackheads. Blackheads are open comedones, and whiteheads are closed comedones. Comedones arise when pores become blocked with dirt, your own dead skin cells and have a back-up of sebum, which is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands at the base of hair follicles in the skin.
Blackheads or open comedones have burst, and have direct contact with the air which causes the sebum to oxidize and appear dark in color. This gives rise to tiny black bumps on the skin surface in areas that are oily such as the nose. Whiteheads or closed comedones have a thin layer of cells on top of them that blocks contact with air which prevents sebum oxidation. This causes small white or clear bumps to form on the skin.
Open Comedone (Blackheads)
Pustule is the official name for pimple. Pustules appear as small bumps on the surface of your skin. The bumps are usually white, or red with white in the center. The bump may be painful to the touch and the skin around the bump may be red and inflamed. A pustule can also be a comedone, but comedones only develop over sebaceous ducts. A pustule is also the name given to the fluid filled result of an insect bite, or the tiny beginnings of a cyst. Pustules in the acne family can also be the result of a clogged and or infected sweat gland.
Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. Comedones and pustules can fall prey to bacteria, and relatively simple problem of clogged skin ducts can develop into cysts.
So What Is Acne?
The disorder acne varies from quite mild to tremendously severe. Again, only a physician can make an Acne Vulgaris or Cystic Acne diagnosis. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the formation and duration of acne, but in terms of its beginning, no one is certain as to what exactly causes acne to develop. Hormonal shifts such as puberty and menopause, that cause skin's’ sebaceous and sweat glands to work less consistently, are a theory as to why those times in life seem to have more acne problems than others. However, hereditary is the largest warning sign that you too will struggle with keeping your skin clear from time to time.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Experts have said that when treating a person for acne, the only way to obtain results from effective treatments is through various healthy lifestyle changes. When I say “healthy lifestyle changes”, it includes the way you eat, sleep, work, play, etc. As much as possible, you should try to focus on all areas that need changing. This is very important in order for a sustained effort to be completed. If your goal is to treat your bothering acne, then try to treat your whole self as many ways as possible.
A consistently good skin care regimen can reduce the number of skin comedones. Proper cleansing is important to remove excess oil and sebum, but over cleansing can stimulate oil production which can make the problem worse. The best approach is to clean once a day with a mild, non-drying soap such as Neutrogena or Dove. Some dermatologists recommend applying 2.5 % benzoyl peroxide after cleansing. This helps to reduce dead skin cells and bacteria that derive nourishment from the sebum in the comedones. When these bacteria are present it sets up an inflammatory reaction that can lead to painful cystic acne lesions.
One of the most common dilemmas that face people is stress. Stress that is not normal. So what happens when the body gets too stressed out? Experts have found out that in this case, the adrenal cortex converts adrenal androgens to the hormone testosterone in both men and women, which in turn results in overactive sebaceous glands. As found out, the ovaries of women are capable of producing 25 percent of the testosterone, while 75 percent of the hormone comes from the adrenal androgens.
When the body of both male and female is stressed, more adrenal androgen is released, causing a double amount of testosterone. It is this doubling effect that causes the T zone of the face to be oily, while other areas are still dry from dehydration. Also note that adult acne is sometimes the by-product of stress and dehydration. And, water and estrogen are the factors that calm the body’s stress alarm system.
Some Other Tips for Controlling Acne
Here are some other tips that have helped hundreds of people suffering from acne. Hopefully, these will help you too:
Water is Best
Water is by far the most effective treatment for acne. The main support for this claim is the fact that water is alkaline (pH 7.3) and can be considered as a natural treatment or an almost free acne treatment. Thus, it is best that you drink at least eight glasses of water per day (10 to 12 is better). This will help your body in getting rid of oil, waste and toxins, and water even helps to moisten your skin as it keeps your pores from clogging. Perhaps what is most important is that, water helps to relieve stress and relax your body in the end, so you can have a better sleep. Note that water and sleep are factors that help reduce stress. Along with this, try to lessen your coffees, sodas, teas and alcohols intake as much as possible. The reason behind this is that they are partial diuretics that they drive more water out of the cells of the body than they put in.
If your goal is to have a beautiful skin, then you should try to avoid astringent natural soaps and any astringent agents that shrink your skin’s pores, such as oatmeal, witch hazel, very cold water and rubbing alcohol. It was found out actually that when your skin pores shrink, more oils are clogged in the pores of the skin, causing the onset of acne.
Coffee, tea, cigarettes, as well as excessive sugar from sweets and soda should be avoided. It is often said that anything potential for affecting the entire body, brain and nervous system can easily stimulate the sebaceous glands to release more oil. This oil has to leave the body through the pores, worsening your acne in the end. Stimulants even trigger stress.
Watch Your Diet
Note that diet affects acne. So be careful with what you eat. As much as possible, try to eat foods that are low in fat, as fats produce more oils in the body that are capable of producing acne.
A number of people think that alcohol is one of the best ways to relax and relieve stress. Well, alcohol may do this, but studies have found out that alcohol causes the formation of acne. It is considered capable for producing acne knowing that it is an astringent, thus it shrinks the skin pores, making them more prone to clogging. Aside from that, alcohol inhibits sleep, therefore causing more fatigue and stress, leading to worse acne.
Hot and Very Cold Count
When considering baths, you should avoid hot and very cold water on areas of the skin affected by acne. Use warm water instead; perhaps well below 98.5 degrees on your skin.
Avoid Scrubbing and Abrasives
Scrubbing and abrasives should be avoided. Experts have said that they irritate the skin, which should be left intact as a natural barrier against the acne-causing bacteria.
Sun for Beautiful Skin
As you may know, sun does kill bacteria, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t harm the skin. Note that the sun also acts as an astringent that dries, tightens and clogs the skin pores. Thus, you should just spend limited time under the sun. At least 15 minutes to the face and arms daily is enough.
Avoid Extremely Cold Weather
If extreme heat causes clogging of the pores, extremely cold weather causes it as well. So, avoid extremely cold weather so you don’t freeze and clog pores. It is ideal that you moisturize your face and body, and stay in temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Swimming Does Help
Exercise for stress reduction by swimming in a properly treated indoor swimming pool. But, use the Ozone purified pool if possible. It is interesting to know that the swimming pool water is typically 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees of your body. Therefore, the swimming water cools your whole body, including the acne affected areas, while providing excellent exercise to the rest of you. This even reduces stress as well as physical attention.
It is also necessary that you change linens, wash cloths and body towels after each use. It is for the fact that they are great places for acne-causing bacteria to grow and be reapplied to the skin later. Also, wash white facial cloths, pillow covers, as well as personal undergarments daily with Vinegar, tea tree oil or essential oils of Lime, lemon or orange so to lessen the acne-related bacterial development. It is also often suggested that you apply a natural detergent for washing.
Indeed, there are a lot of ways to control and fight acne, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so far the best one to consider. It is important to note that healthy lifestyles will lead you to attaining a healthier skin and a healthier body. Changing your unfavorable habits will reward you with better general health, more energy, and clearer skin to show the world. If you were once afraid to make changes, please don’t be. Of course, the initial effects may be hard to see at first, but as you go on, you will find out that you can quickly learn to adapt with them.
Edited by Day by Day Beauty's Guru: Elizabeth
Day by Day Beauty, Inc. is not a medical company or facility. Day by Day Beauty, Inc. is a beauty brand. The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.