Complementary Therapists > Medical Conditions > Acne
What is Acne?
Acne is the most common skin condition and affects the skin's oil glands. Acne causes pimples to erupt on the surface of the skin on the face, neck, shoulders, back and chest. From a general health viewpoint it is not a serious medical condition but acne may leave permanent scars and acne sufferers may develop emotional difficulties.
The condition can range from mild to severe and may persist for years. Acne is most common in the teenage years and it is estimated that 80% of the population will sufferer from acne at some time in their lives.
What Causes Acne ?
Acne is caused by excessive sebum production. Sebum moisturises skin and hair. Dead skin cells are regularly shed by the body and new cells generated. In acne sufferers these dead skin cells congeal with the excess sebum around the hair follicle and clog pores. These pore plugs are called microcomedo.
Hormonal changes, particularly in androgens, in teenagers increases the production of sebum hence the reason that acne develops in the teenage years. After the age of 20 sebum production usually reduces.
In addition to puberty acne is caused by other hormonal changes e.g. during pregnancy, stopping or starting birth control medication, some medications, and poor quality or greasy make-up. It is also thought that heredity may have a role to play - If one or both of your parents suffered with acne there is a greater chance that you will also.
Appearance of Acne
The skin cells-sebum-hair follicle plug can manifest itself in a number of different pimples as the bacteria in the plug induce swelling on the skin. As the plug in the pore starts to break down a pimple emerges. The most common types of welling or pimples are as follows:
Blackheads are raised pimples that are dark in appearance but may also appear yellowish. They are also known as open comedone.
Unlike blackheads whiteheads are not raised but remain under the surface of the skin. There are also known as milia.
In acne papules are normally small pink bumps on the skin that are usually 1cm or smaller. Papules may be tender and if they are picked at or scratched they can burst and become infected.
Larger than papules, nodules are large, painful, solid pimples that are deep in the skin. Some are fixed to the skin or subcutaneous tissue below.
How to Prevent Acne
There is no way to prevent acne entirely however there are measures that can be taken to reduce the effects of acne.
To treat acne many people turn to proprietary products that can be bought over the counter. Products that contain benzoyl peroxides or salicylic acid can be particularly helpful in treating different types of acne.
If such products don't help in the treatment of acne your doctor may prescribe creams, gels or oral medications. If you do undertake a course of treatment prescribed by your doctor make sure to finish it out even if you skin has already cleared up.
A healthy diet that avoids greasy or fatty foods, and includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables helps in the treatment of acne. Regular aerobic exercise also helps to treat acne but remember to shower well afterwards to avoid sweat adding to the blockage of your pores.
How to Cure Acne
There is no cure for acne. Prevention measures and treatment of the condition are the most realistic avenues for most people. Conventional medicine has made some advances in diagnosing the causes of, and treating acne however very many people turn to complementary and alternative treatments. Such therapies include Reiki, Kinesiology, CranioSacral, and Homeopathy. If you have tried conventional methods without finding an acne cure there are a number of complementary therapists listed on this site that may have the solution to your skin difficulties.
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