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All you need to know on Acne!

When you are young, dealing with puberty is difficult enough in itself. Having to deal with breakouts and worse still, acne, is something that cannot be taken lightly. Acne can ruin the otherwise active social life, a teen has worked so hard to build up. It is nothing unusual to see teen forgoing a night out with friends or miss that important date because of a sudden breakout. Socially, having acne can make an active person into a loner. It can affect self esteem dramatically. People always thought its part and parcel of growing up and it will go away eventually. What they do not realise is that, ignoring acne problems now will bring about scarring in their adult life. Do not wait until its too late to reverse the scarring. Prevent the acne scarring now as there is no miracle cure for scarring.

Description of Acne
The part of the skin that is worst affected by acne is where there are hair follicles and active sebaceous glands. The hair follicles, or pores on your skin have sebaceous glands, which product a oil that lubricate your skin and hair (mainly on the face, back and chest).

At its worse, the pores will clogged up with too much sebum, dead skin cells and bacterial germs that causes blackheads, whiteheads and redneess due to inflammation.

There are different types of acne. The most common ones are vulgaris. This shows up as inflamed pus-filled markins that will break out on the top layer of skin. Conglobata is far more severe, as this is an eruption that stays below the skin. It is infected and forms into a painful cyst. In both cases, acne will cause severe embarrassment and terrible discomfort.

Causes of Acne
For the majority of acne sufferers, the trouble begins at puberty, when the body begins to produce hormones called androgens. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge, which is a natural part of the body's development. In acne sufferers, however, the sebaceous glands are overstimulated by androgens, sometimes well into adulthood. Androgens are also responsible for acne flare-ups associated with the menstrual cycle and, on occasion, pregnancy.

Excessive Sebum
When the sebaceous gland is stimulated by androgens, it produces extra sebum. In its journey up the follicle toward the surface, the sebum mixes with common skin bacteria and dead skin cells that have been shed from the lining of the follicle. While this process is normal, the presence of extra sebum in the follicle increases the chances of clogging and acne.

Follicle Fallout
Normally, dead cells within the follicle shed gradually and are expelled onto the skin's surface. But in patients with overactive sebaceous glands and in nearly everyone during puberty, these cells are shed more rapidly. Mixed with a surplus of sebum, the dead skin cells form a plug in the follicle, preventing the skin from finishing its natural process of renewal.

The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, (P. acnes for short) is a regular resident of all skin types; it's part of the skin's natural sebum maintenance system. Once a follicle is plugged, however, P. acnes bacteria multiply rapidly, creating the chemical reaction we know as inflammation in the follicle and surrounding skin.

When your body encounters unwanted bacteria, it sends an army of white blood cells to attack the intruders. This process is called chemotaxis; or, simply put, the inflammatory response. This is what causes pimples to become red, swollen and painful. The inflammatory response is different for everyone, but studies have shown that it is especially strong in adult women.

Treating Acne
There is clinical evidence to indicate that powerful forms of Vitamin A treats acne with success. Include a good dose in your daily supplement program for good results. Moderation, however, is key as too much Vitamin A can be toxic. An ideal level is 25,000 IU daily, which you could get from your multivitamin formula.

Healthy skin also requires a good supply of zinc. It is no coincidence that most acne sufferers are teenagers who are most likely to be deficient, as most of their zinc resources are going into their growth spurts. Zinc is also linked to Vitamin A, helping to control inflammation and skin repair. Low zinc levels are associated with increased conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). An ideal intake is around 45mg a day.

Deficiencies in essential fats have also been linked to acne. These fats are crucial to the health of the skin, its cell membranes, hormonal balance and much more.

The blocking of pores is a major factor, so keep your face well-cleansed and free from clogging oils. Many people make the mistake of over-cleansing their skin, stripping off its natural protective layer of oils. This makes things worse by encouraging the body to produce even more oil and leaving the skin without its natural protection from pollutants and bacteria.

Many 'spot creams' contain benzyl peroxide - an antiseptic which effectively helps control the growth of bacteria but can also make the skin very dry and sore, so it is important 'only to use it directly on the spot. 'Less is more' with benzyl peroxide.

Wash your face with a pH-balanced cleanser, i.e. one that has a similar pH level to the skin (between 4.5 and 5.5). This means avoiding medicated soaps and alcohol toners, which make the skin, feel very dry, and ultimately stimulate it to produce more oil.

Whatever you do, don't trick yourself into believing that you do not need a moisturizer - you need a good barrier to keep the skin well hydrated (as opposed to 'oiled') and protected from pollution and the elements. But do make sure it does not contain the clogging substances mentioned above. Some contain 'microsponges' which help absorb excess oil.

Picking or squeezing spots is not a good idea, as this will often introduce nasty bacteria that can cause an infection and can leave a scar. A natural acne treatment product may provide the required results, if used regularly.

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