Sep 28, 2010

What you need to know about acne

Why is acne so common among teenagers?

Acne occurs in people of all ages but it’s most common amongteenagers because hormones contribute to acne development.
Acne is typically found on the face, neck, chest, back andshoulders because these areas have the largest number of oilglands. Comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) appear when hairfollicle openings become clogged. Small red, raised bumps indicateinflammation in hair follicles.

Deeper secretions within hair follicles may cause nodules, whichare large, painful lumps under the skin’s surface. Bumps or lumpscan develop white pus; those that are painful and below the skinsurface are the type most likely to cause scars.
Acne occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and deadskin cells. however, it isn’t known why some people have troublewith it and others don’t.

Hormones, bacteria, certain medications and heredity all have beenconfirmed as contributing factors. Teenage girls are more likely tohave acne outbreaks two to seven days before their menstrualcycles.

Cosmetics or other substances applied to the skin can contribute toacne. Pressure on the skin, such as cell phones, helmets andbackpacks, also may be contributors. Contrary to popular opinion,acne is not caused by dirt or eating greasy foods andchocolate.

How can teenagers decrease skin outbreaks?

Mild acne can be avoided or controlled with good skin care. Washthe problem areas with a gentle cleanser and avoid using facialscrubs, astringents and masks, which tend to irritate skin. if acnesets in around the hairline, shampoo frequently.
Choose cosmetics, sunscreens and hair products labeled“water-based” or “noncomedogenic.” Avoid touching the face andputting hands, cell phones and other objects on the face. Tightcaps and clothing, especially if they cause sweating, can make acneworse.

Don’t pick or squeeze blemishes because that can cause infection orscarring. various over-the-counter topical treatments intended todry up the oil, kill bacteria and promote sloughing of dead skincells can be effective for mild acne. if these treatments don’tproduce any response within a month or if the acne is severe, makean appointment with your family doctor.

How can a doctor help?

Your doctor can assess the extent of the problem and prescribestronger oral and topical acne treatments that work by reducing oilproduction, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterialinfection, reducing the inflammation or doing all four. In somecase, an antibiotic prescription might be necessary to kill excessskin bacteria.

More aggressive treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemicalpeels are available at drugstores and salons but a doctor’s care isrecommended because they can cause flare-ups or scars. Prepare yourteen by talking to him or her about the importance of followingthrough on recommendations made by your family physician andkeeping realistic expectations as treatment proceeds.
With most acne treatments, it takes four to eight weeks forimprovement and the skin may get worse before it gets better.*xu*

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