Acne – Causes and treatment

December 4, 2009

Acne is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, embarrassing problem that more than three quarters of Americans encounter in their teens. For many, especially women, it can continue into adulthood as adult acne. People with fair skin are particularly susceptible to rosacea as they age, and may get acne with their rosacea (Papulopustular Rosacea). Men who shave daily, especially those with thicker or curlier hair, are also more prone to acne from inflammation in the follicle as the hair grows back. Acne can be both treated and prevented, and there are ways to avoid unsightly acne scars.

Acne in the U.S. is very commonly passed genetically, especially if one or both parents have adult acne. It is triggered primarily by hormones, specifically the male hormones that both sexes experience an increase of during puberty, the hormones women experience before menstruation, and stress hormones. It can also be caused by the use of steroids, amphetamines, and make-up.

Acne begins as a buildup of excess oil and dead skin cells which clog follicles, which is why it occurs most frequently on the face, back, and upper chest-where there are the most follicles. The clogged follicle becomes a blackhead. If the black head becomes infected, it becomes a papule or a nodule (a whitehead). These can result in acne scars if not treated properly. Although it is tempting to squeeze and pop the papule, it is not recommended that you do so as this tears the skin, increasing the likelihood of scarring while spreading around the infection. The quickest way to treat a white head is with a cortisone injection from your dermatologist, however, cortisone is a steroid with many side effects so long term use is not recommended, particularly to those interested in natural treatments.

Acne is not caused by a lack of hygiene; do not over scrub and wash your face or it may cause an increase in oil production or dry out your face, creating more dead skin cells. Rather, to prevent mild acne, use a mild soap and gently exfoliate with a washcloth, or use a gentle exfoliant once per week.

Any natural acne treatment will take more than two weeks to begin showing results, a treatment such as mesosilver, which is a natural antibiotic that supports the immune system when fighting infection, is a good natural choice as it has minimal side-effects, especially when applied topically.

Other steps you should take to avoid acne papules and nodules is to change your diet. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, one low in saturated fats and processed sugars and that includes whole grains and fats from foods like olive oil, is a good way to begin. It’s a common myth that eating chocolate or consuming dairy, causes acne, but neither has been linked as a direct cause by research. Rather, the hormones in dairy may cause acne break-outs, so if you consume dairy choose hormone free or organic brands to help avoid them.

Another treatment of acne and acne scars are dermabrasion and micro dermabrasion. While you may want to consider them if you have scars (the treatment is most effective when the scarring is new) remember that in choosing this method you are choosing to remove the epidermis , the top, protective layer of skin, and this can often be quite painful. Initially, your skin will be raw and take a week or more to recover, and you will not have natural protection from the sun. This is why a natural treatment such as mesosilver colloidal silver is a safer choice since it helps in treating and preventing acne, so as to avoid scarring.

If you have severe acne, such as cystic acne, you should begin whatever treatment of acne you choose as soon as possible to avoid scarring and discoloration. You also might consider consulting your dermatologist.

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