> Acne Treatment
Clinically termed Acne vulgaris and commonly called Acne, it is a
skin disease that is caused by changes in the skin structures. It
consists of hair follicles and its associated sebaceous glands that
produce the skin preserving oils. In short, it is caused by the blockage
of the follicles resulting in accumulation of the oil that cannot
come out of the glands, creating an environment where bacterial or
other type of infections begin to grow. Acne is most common during
the teens or early adolescence (it affects more than 87% of the population).
With some, the relentless invasion continues right up to their middle
ages (this is sometimes referred to as adult acne).
Acne lesions are referred to as pimples, spots or zits. Typical
acne lesions are comedones and inflammatory pustules, papules and
nodules affecting the face and the upper neck though chest, shoulders
and back are also not spared.
Although the actual reasons as to why some get acne and some do
not is beyond medical science, one overwhelming factor seems to
be the hormonal over activity that is evident during the pubescent
period. Increase in the male sex hormones called androgens cause
the glands to secrete more than average sebum which probably cannot
be released due to blockage of the follicle by dead skin cells.
Bacteria (P.acnes) further aggravates the situation while skin irritation
and scratching activates inflammation.
Apart from all these, family/genetic history also lends a hand
for the acne to develop in certain genetically affected adolescents.
Though the development of acne in later years is rather uncommon,
acne nevertheless, can manifest during pregnancy or due to disorders
like the polycystic ovary syndrome or the very rare Cushing’s
Acne is fairly easy to diagnose. ‘Pimples’ usually
start out as a red bump and grow to be pustules (elevations of the
skin filled with pus) which may eventually break or simply heal.
Acne can range from small, pinpoint pimples to large lesions of
the face (caused by many acne pimples converging together). When
questioning a skin blemish, examine and make sure there is no scabbing
over the entire reddened area (unless it had been scraped off).
Constant ‘shedding’ of the top layer of skin can also
be indicative of an ailment other than acne. If the area of skin
affected is growing at an alarming rate, or the blemishes or pimples
are moving to your armpits, trunk or feet, see a doctor immediately.
However, if you are just noticing that you are starting to get pimples
on your face and back area and they look similar to other acne you
have seen, you probably have acne and can start taking steps to
treat it before it starts to scar.
Acne treatment is big business. Because acne treatment is a very
lucrative market, we are flooded with so many treatment types we
have no idea where to start. Further, many of them simply do not
work. Here we will explore the different types of acne treatment
available and which seem to be more effective than others.
Laser Treatment is the miracle of the late 19th century. Laser
treatments are now used for over 300 ailments and diseases ranging
from ulcers to hair loss to acne skin care. In the case of acne,
laser treatment is used to remove acne scars, and not necessarily
to ‘cure’ acne. In most cases, people who have suffered
severe or prolonged acne use laser treatment to remove permanent
blemishes and scars that resulted from the acne. Laser acne treatment
simply uses the heat of a laser to burn off the scars and blemishes
– because of the lasers precision and effect on the skin,
the cavities left behind are conducive to new, healthy skin development.
New skin grows in where scars have been removed, leaving the face
(or back) with far less noticeable blemishes. Laser therapy can
take weeks or months to heal, and you may need to make more than
one appointment. To date, there is not a more effective way to reduce
permanent acne scars, but remember that laser therapy does not ‘cure’
acne in any way.
Steroidal Cream is another popular treatment option. Steroids became
very popular in the second half of the 19th century and, like laser
treatment, has many uses besides acne. The problem with steroids
is that they almost always have adverse side effects. Among the
trivial, nausea, rash, dizziness outbreaks. Long term use of steroids
can also have adverse effects as we are just starting to see now
in patients who use steroids for long term treatments such as IBS.
Osteoporosis is one example. For acne, steroidal creams (accurately
name corticosteroids) are prescribed by your physician. They are
applied to the affected skin as a topical cream. They can relieve
itchiness and rid the skin of blemishes. Usually the effect is only
temporary and the cream needs to be used over and over again. Although
doctors still prescribe corticosteroids for acne and other skin
blemishes, it is important to note that some physicians recommend
not using corticosteroids particularly for acne treatment.
Natural Acne treatments are now becoming more and more popular
for many reasons. First, natural treatments in general are becoming
popular because of the adverse effects of ‘medical miracles’
– pills are a good example. Because of the way pills are approved
for distribution and the unprecedented amount of revenue accumulated
by pharmaceutical companies, people are beginning to have a general
distrust of synthetic medicine. Natural treatments are rarely harmful
and in fact usually not only work just as well as synthetic medicines
but also have other side benefits – as opposed to ‘side
effects’. Examples of natural acne treatments are horsetail,
aloe vera, tansy and lemon balm. There is no need to become a botanist
to get these treatments as they are now sold regularly on the internet
and in natural health stores complete with instructions on application
and dosage. Sulphur lotion and Kali bromium are also other natural
alternatives. Lavender cream followed by a juniper wash has been
used for decades and still works as good as it did a century ago!
Natural remedies for acne and all kinds of ailments are available
Of course with all treatment methods, one of the best ways to help
reduce acne is through proper hygiene. Remember to wash your face
in the morning and before you go to sleep. Using just water alone
can sometimes be more beneficial than soaps which can further clog
pores. If you use an astringent cleanser, make sure your skin doesn’t
dry out and get flaky. Experimenting with different cleansers will
lead to finding a good cleanser that helps control acne and does
not exacerbate the problem.
To most teenagers, the word acne spells disaster. Apart from the
agonies and discomfort that it causes, acne shakes the very root
of self-confidence that an adolescent needs so dearly to face the
world. Sadness, despair and dejection can make these important years
a dark time for many acne suffering teens. It is not the acne itself
but the unsightly acne scars that create such a big problem that
often also leads to depression. This is why acne treatment is so
necessary. If you’re teen suffers from acne, it’s a
good idea to make sure your child is not under any undue stress.
Talk to them about school and try to talk to them about acne (a
sensitive subject to teens). Remind them that the excessive hormones
and hormonal changes in teenagers can be a cause for acne and that
treatment will be easy and will in all likelihood only last for
a couple of years before it is no longer necessary.
The best acne resources are your family doctor or non biased medical
websites focusing on health and healthcare options. If you are not
sure if you have acne or another skin affliction, it is always best
to see your doctor. Ask them about natural treatment vs. synthetic
treatments. Your doctor will probably know more about your skin
and allergies than you do and will give a sound opinion. Unfortunately,
some doctors prefer to prescribe drugs for many reasons. Make sure
they give a good reason as to why a prescription is a better approach
than natural treatment. Remember, regardless of what treatment type
you choose, proper hygiene is always the first step to controlling
American Academy of Dermatology:
US National Library of Medicine:
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research: