which is also known as acne
vulgaris (or, in the vernacular - zits or pimples)
is a condition most associated with teenagers although acne
can affect anyone at any age.
It is usually seen on the face although outbreaks are just
as common on the neck, chest, shoulders and back.
It has several different possible causes, and acne treatment
is a booming industry - as many different new products become available on the market,
some more effective than others.
While the main causes of common acne are up for debate, it is generally believed that is a combination of factors that may have to be confronted all at once to be effective in the battle against acne and for maintaining overall skin health.
What causes acne?
Some of the most common causes of acne are bacteria in the
pores of the face; excess amounts of stress,
skin irritation or inflamed skin, hormones, or genetic predisposition.
causes of severe acne, such as poor hygiene, have been downplayed
recently. Yet occasional outbreaks of zits or pimples can
be avoided with proper cleansing that can help unblock oily
pores and prevent bacteria from entering the skin. Getting
proper rest and exercise can also go a long way in getting rid of acne and help ward off the emotional
stress associated with outbreaks or the effects of acne scars.
An oily substance called sebum (produced by the sebaceous gland) becomes blocked, and produces a blackhead (left) or whitehead (right).
Contrary to popular belief, a blackhead is not caused by dirt, but is a common discoloration of sebum when it is exposed to air.
Meanwhile, poor diet is one debunked cause of acne that is currently being
re-examined. Recently, new studies have found that milk can
at least partially cause acne, along with evidence to suggest
that countries which drink less milk and consume fewer carbohydrates
report a much lower percentage of acne.
treatment & prevention
Treating acne is often a long term undertaking. Most acne
treatment takes about three months to make a real difference,
rather than the two weeks that many acne treatments on the
There are many different treatments for acne, but generally
a treatment will fall in to one of four categories: preventing
pore blockage (which also causes blackheads); killing bacteria which causes pimples; fighting
inflammation; and manipulating hormones.
In addition to conventional treatments, there are many other
remedies that can be prescribed by a doctor, such as antibacterials,
and cortisone creams to help with inflammation. Over the counter
treatments, such as aloe vera, help heal and soothe the skin.
However, proper nutrition and proper amounts of rest can also be one of the most effective
home remedies for avoiding outbreaks.
In addition to currently available treatments, there is ongoing
research such as a vaccine for inflammatory acne which has
been successful in animal trials, although more studies have
to be undertaken before its application to human treatment.
Genetic sequencing of the bacteria which causes pimples has
also been carried out in the hope that this new information
will give scientists an upper hand in developing more effective
treatments in the future for those more predisposed to acne.
More information about acne around the Web:
- What is acne? - Expert information and related photos explaining common
blackheads, whiteheads, postules, nodules and other forms
of acne with more on severe cases and their treatment.
- Acne (Pimples) - A detailed discussion on causes and treatment, tips on a
proper skin cleaning regimen, when to see a doctor, prescription
and over-the-counter medications, picture slideshow.
How to Get Rid of Acne - Advice on proper sleep
habits and nutrition, home remedies and cleansers, related
warnings and tips on how to pop a pimple, instructional video.
information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
decisions should be made by medical professionals.