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Acne: A Very Common Skin Disorder
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One of the most aggravating problems for teens is acne, which is a common skin disorder.  The disorder is characterized by clogged pores and pimples.

It is estimated that four out of five people between the age of 12 and 24 develop acne at least once.  Acne can also affect people older than 24 years of age.  Some people continue to have acne in their 40s and 50s.  Adult women hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menstrual cycles or starting or stopping birth control pills can trigger episodes of acne.  Stressful life situations can trigger bouts of acne at just about any age.

Rarely is acne a serious medical condition.  The worst scenario associated with acne is probably the emotional distress and possible scarring of the skin.  There are measures that can be taken to reduce scars left by acne and the skin disorder can be kept under control with the right treatment.

Symptoms of acne include:

·        Whiteheads

·        Blackheads

·        Pimples

·        Cysts

Causes of acne include:

·        Overproduction of skin oil

·        Irregular shedding of dead skin cells that results in irritation of hair follicles of the skin

·        Buildup of bacteria

It is unknown what causes the increased production of skin oil (sebum) that leads to acne.  Some of the causes could be hormones, bacteria, certain medications and heredity.

Some people think certain foods contribute to the skin disorder of acne.  Actually, according to scientific research, foods have little effect on acne.  It is not caused by dirt either.  Skin specialists feel that scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals can cause irritation which makes acne worse.

Some of the risk factors include:

·        The use of cortisone

·        Exposing the skin directly to greasy or oil substances and/or to certain cosmetics.

·        A family history of acne

·        Friction or pressure on the skin caused by telephones or cell phones, helmets, tight collars and backpacks.

You may want to seek medical treatment for acne from a dermatologist if you experience persistent pimples or inflamed cysts to avoid scarring and other damage to your skin.  Acne is rarely a serious medical condition otherwise.  If acne or the scars left behind affect your social relationships or self-esteem you may also want to consult with a dermatologist for possible treatment.

Treatment of acne may include:

·        Topical treatments

·        Antibiotics

·        Isotretinoin

·        Oral contraceptives

·        Cosmetic surgery

Ways to avoid or control most acne starts with good basic skin care.  You can also try some of the following self-care techniques:

·        Wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser

·        Try over-the-counter acne lotion to dry excess oil and promote peeling.

·        Avoid irritants.

·        Watch what touches your face.  Avoid resting your hands or object such as telephone receivers on your face.  Tight clothing or hats can also pose a problem especially if you sweat.  Sweat, dirt and oils can contribute to acne.

·        Do not pick or squeeze blemishes.  If you need an aggressive treatment, consult with your doctor or dermatologist for an appropriate method.

Try whipping egg whites to a stiff texture.  Apply the mixture to the problem areas like a mask for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse well with a mild cleanser, warm water and follow with a few splashes of cold water.  Use the treatment daily if necessary.  This was my personal regime that eventually cured the acne I experienced as a teenager.  I tried many commercial products and I believe I happened to read about this home remedy in a woman’s magazine, which absolutely cleared up my complexion.  Later in life around the age of 25 I experienced another episode of acne during a period of intense stress.  I consulted a dermatologist for that episode.

Not every product or home remedy treatment works for everyone.  However, if you continue searching for a treatment that will work for you, most of the time, you will find one.  I can speak personally for how awful acne can be during an already turbulent teenage period.

Source:  Mayo Clinic year of 2007; personal knowledge.

Disclaimer:  The information in this article is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider.  Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

By Connie Limon
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