Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

Acne is the med­i­cal term used to de­scribe out­breaks of pim­ples, white­heads, large cysts and black­heads. It usu­ally af­fects teenagers and young adults un­der­go­ing hor­monal changes but is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon in adult women.


Acne de­vel­ops when oil and dead cells block oil glands and skin pores and trap pro­tein and se­bum – your skin’s nat­u­ral oil – un­der the skin. A range of fac­tors can bring on acne or make it worse, in­clud­ing:

Hor­mones and genes; if a par­ent had se­vere acne you’re more likely to have it. Higher lev­els of sex hor­mones, called an­dro­gens, cause oil glands to en­large and pro­duce more se­bum. The more se­bum, the more likely acne will be a prob­lem.

In women, an im­bal­ance of male and fe­male hor­mones can cause break­outs. This can hap­pen dur­ing preg­nancy and around menopause.


wash­ing your skin too of­ten. Makeup should be thor­oughly re­moved be­fore go­ing to bed. Keep hair clean and off your face and neck as oil from hair can make acne worse.


pick­ing and squeez­ing pim­ples – it can make acne worse and lead to scar­ring.


for foods that seem to ag­gra­vate your acne. High-GI foods like white bread, sug­ary drinks, and pro­cessed foods are thought to trig­ger the pro­duc­tion of an­dro­gens.


strongly scented or al­co­hol-based prod­ucts. Use prod­ucts that won’t clog pores, la­belled as oil-free or non-come­do­genic.


over-the-counter acne treat­ments con­tain­ing ben­zoyl per­ox­ide, which has an an­tibac­te­rial ac­tion and en­cour­ages your skin to shed its sur­face layer of dead skin.


retinoids, an­tibac­te­rial or an­tibi­otic creams or lo­tions, an­tibi­otics, or oral con­tra­cep­tives may be pre­scribed.


a der­ma­tol­o­gist’s help if the acne be­comes se­vere. Like eczema and pso­ri­a­sis, it can be very hard to live with and a der­ma­tol­o­gist can of­fer a range of op­tions.


Acne causes dif­fer­ent types of scars. Most of the time those brown­ish or red­dish marks that are left be­hind will dis­ap­pear with time. Al­though pick­ing or squeez­ing pim­ples can cause scars, most se­ri­ous scar­ring – thick­ened or raised or deeply in­dented – is caused by se­vere forms of acne. The best ap­proach is to get treat­ment for acne soon af­ter it ap­pears. Der­ma­tol­o­gists usu­ally treat sur­face scar­ring by laser resur­fac­ing, chem­i­cal peels or der­mabra­sion. Deeper scar­ring can be treated by us­ing fill­ing agents. Be aware that treat­ments can have side ef­fects in­clud­ing skin pig­men­ta­tion, red­ness and al­lergy.

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