Acne is a skin disorder that affects the skins oil glands. Your skin has small, almost unnoticeable holes in it called pores. These pores produce oil called Sebum. The pores connect to the glands through a follicle. In this follicle a thin hair grows. Occasionally, a person’s body can produce more Sebum than normal. When this happens it is very easy for one of the pores to get clogged. When the pore gets clogged, it causes a pimple.
Pimples: Just the Facts
Pimples can look different. Some come out just one single pimple. Others can come in blotchy patches. Some pimples look white. These are called white heads. Another type of acne is black heads. These black heads are caused when a pimple is forming and the air hits it. This causes it to be a black head. Some acne is also painful. Papules are small bumps that can be tender, and pustules are like papules but with pus at the top. Nodules are not your normal, run of the mill pimple. Nodules are very painful. They are large, solid, painful pimples that are very deep in the skin. The worst of all the types of pimples are called cysts. Cysts are very deep, very, very painful pimples that are full of puss and cause scars.
Pimples can occur almost anywhere on the body, however, the most common places to develop acne are on the face, neck, back, and shoulders. Pimples occur more in men. This is because men produce more Sebum and men also have more pores and skin cells. Women are more prone to acne during menstruation. Teenagers are affected the most with acne. This is because their hormone levels are ever changing and that can cause more Sebum to be produced.
Acne: The Truth and the Myths
There are many myths about acne. Because teenagers are most prone to acne, the myths are believed that much more. One myth regarding acne is that it is caused by the foods that you eat. It is said that chocolate can cause acne. This is not true. It may seem like it because women get cravings during their periods and they tend to eat chocolate. It is not the chocolate that caused the acne, it was the period itself. It is also said that greasy food like pizza or French fries cause acne. It is the oil in the skin that causes it, not the grease in the food. Many people also believe that dirt causes acne, mostly black heads. This is also not true either. Dirt does not cause acne, but not washing your face and allowing the oils to build up and clog the pores does cause acne. It is not the dirt, it is neglecting to wash your face. One rather insane myth is that masturbation causes acne. Many teenagers believe this. It is in no way true.
There are also some facts to acne. It is true that certain facial products can cause acne. Face make-up and tanning oils which contain oil are products that are acne causing. If you are fixing your hair with gel or hair spray and you accidently get some on your face, it can cause acne.
Washing your face too roughly can also cause acne. If you already have a problem with acne, scrubbing it too hard can make the acne worse.
Excessive sweating can also cause acne. If you have sweat clogging your pores along with the oils from your skin, acne can be a problem.
How to Treat Acne
There are a few different ways to treat acne. The method that you choose usually depends on how bad the acne really is. If you happen to get one single pimple on your chin or on the tip of your nose, there is really not a lot that you need to do. These pimples usually go away by themselves in a few days.
If you have more than one pimple and it makes you uncomfortable, there are several over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that you can use. There are several different companies and several different products. OTC acne treatments can come in pads, lotions, creams, gels, and oils. Most of these OTC acne treatments contain benzoyl peroxide. This is one of the most commonly used acne treatment.
If your acne is not getting better with OTC medications, you can call your doctor or a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a skin doctor. Your dermatologist can prescribe medication. Usually, your dermatologist will start you with benzoyl peroxide. It is a much stronger dose, however, than what you will get in an OTC treatment. If this does not work, there are other types of creams and ointments that the doctor can prescribe.
Oral medications are also used. This is usually used only on the most severe cases of acne. The most common oral acne treatment is Accutane. If a woman of child bearing age wishes to get a prescription for Accutane, most doctors require they be on birth control pills and use a condom each time. Two forms of protection are needed. This is because if a woman becomes pregnant while on Accutane or within the month after you finish taking it, the baby can have severe deformities. Women who are taking Accutane must be responsible.
Acne is not a medically dangerous condition but it is definitely a psychologically damaging one. Many teens who have acne, especially severe acne, can become withdrawn and depressed. The other kids may tease them about their acne causing their self-image to be torn apart. Even adults can be affected by acne. It can make an adult embarrassed to be seen with the acne and also make them withdrawn. Even as mature adults, it is possible for an adult to be damaged psychologically by acne.