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Acne

  • Teen Acne - An Overview

    Mar 18 2014 2:44 PM

    Preteens and teens are the age group primarily affected by acne, which is the most common skin disorder in the U.S. according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While acne causes visible symptoms that can adversely affect self esteem, the good news is that you are not alone. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and applying the solutions can make this troubling disorder quite manageable.

    Most teen acne sufferers experience breakouts on the face and neck, but especially the t-zone, which includes the forehead, nose and chin. The chest, and shoulders are also frequently affected. Teen acne on the upper part of the face is usually more on the surface. Teen breakouts are mainly blackheads and whiteheads except in more advanced stages, which includes larger pimples called papules and pustules or even cysts.

    Puberty and Acne

    Puberty or adolescence, from age eight to preteen, is the most common age group that is affected by acne. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) indicates that over 40% of adolescents get acne and or acne scarring that requires treatment.

    Teens and Acne

    Approximately 87% of teens aged 15 to 18 years experience acne.

    Teen acne is usually seen on the upper part of the face in the T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose and chin, plus the cheeks. Teen breakouts are mostly on the surface in the form of blackheads and whiteheads except in more advanced stages. Another symptom is lack of confidence. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 77% of teens acknowledge that acne contributed to a lack of self-esteem. While acne affects both men and women, or boys and girls, the location of breakouts can be different between the sexes. Females often breakout around the mouth, on the chin and jawline, with deep under the skin pimples or cysts before they get their period. This telltale “hormone zone” is victim of the disruption that occurs with menstruation.

    Males often experience acne on the back, chest and upper shoulders. Male acne is more due to genetics and the fact that testosterone leads men to develop larger pores, more oil glands and thicker skin than women. Consequently, acne in males can respond quite well to conventional treatment since it is not primarily hormonally driven. Unfortunately, lack of compliance in males causes more inflammation, scarring and dark spots. It is not known while acne “ages out” for most male adults.

    Acne Types

    While pimple is the term popularly used to refer to acne, this is one of several types of acne, which includes blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.

    Blackheads earned their name, as they are the result of pores becoming filled with dead skin, oil, makeup and debris that has oxidized and turned color. They can also be brownish or black in color.

    Whiteheads are the result of oil, dead skin and debris being trapped under the skin and have a whitish colored cap or head.

    Pimples are one of the main symptoms of mild acne occur when the oil and debris in the whitehead ruptures, and causes inflammation and redness. These start as papules, which are small, red, raised, swollen bumps that are sore to the touch. While papules are deeply seated under the skin they do not contain sebum or pus.

    When inflammation increases, this causes a pastule to rupture and become a pustule. Pustules are red, raised inflamed bumps with a white or yellow center containing pus, oil and dead skin cells and can be painful. As papules and pustules heal they may result in scarring.

    Nodules develop when inflammation increases. These swollen, tender masses can definitely lead to scarring. Seeing a dermatologist is highly recommended at this stage.

    Cysts and abscesses are in deeper tissues and even more severe and painful than nodules. Infection is present in these hard, red, pus-filled bumps. While squeezing is never recommended for acne, it is even more important not to squeeze cysts and abscesses, which can easily become more infected. Scarring and acne pits are the likely result of these painful conditions. It is strongly recommended to see a dermatologist for treatment with these severe forms of acne.

    Acne Causes

    Hormones, excess oil, accumulation of dead skin, bacteria and genetics are the main causes of acne.

    However, teen acne is primarily driven by the surge in hormones that occurs with the changing body chemistry involved in “growing up”. These higher than normal testosterone levels cause excess oil production and inflammation, which make acne worse.

    Acne sufferers produce more oil and skin cells than those who don’t breakout. Plus the oil and dead skin are stickier than normal. Also, the oil is thicker, and dead skin cells aren’t shed properly which combine to clog the pore. Acne sufferers have higher levels of bacteria than their blemish-free fellows, however, this creates a breeding ground for bacteria and causes pimples to form.

    Genetics play a big role in who develops acne and who doesn’t. There is an actual gene that predisposes certain people to develop acne. When those who have the gene hit puberty, acne rears its ugly head as the acne gene aggravates the increase in hormones. It is this “proneness” to acne that allows it to be triggered by foods and other acne triggers.

    Acne triggers include the following: stress, diet, pore clogging beauty products (makeup and hair products), sunscreen, lack of regular skincare routine, wearing hair long combined with infrequent washing, touching or picking blemishes, hair removal, tight clothing, and wearing helmets or shoulder pads for sports, can all trigger breakouts. Other triggers include pH or acidity, the environment, certain medical conditions and medications, yeast, and bacteria from contact with items we use on a daily basis (makeup brushes, phones or pillowcases) can increase the incidence of acne in those that are acne prone.

    Teen Acne Solutions

    Despite the old school philosophy that acne is a teenage problem to be outgrown, acne is actually a disease of the skin that must be addressed immediately and seriously to prevent scarring and negative psychological effects. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for acne, but many things can be done to control breakouts. Once remedied, acne needs to be regularly treated to prevent a reoccurrence.

    Choosing and consistently using the right skincare products for teen acne is a must. Products need to prevent future breakouts and heal existing lesions. To do this, products must remove excess oil, exfoliate dead skin, fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, heal, calm, hydrate, reduce redness and prevent scarring.

    The best ingredients to do this include naturally sourced benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and sulfur. Arnica, burdock root, chamomile, citrus oils, horse chestnut, kava, micronized walnut shell powder, panthenol, retinyl palmitate, turmeric and witch hazel bark are also beneficial for treating teen acne.

    Formulations that are better tolerated by the skin such as Pevonia’s uses naturally sourced ingredients in micro matrix delivery systems, allows for even dosing of ingredients for maximum bacteria fighting with minimal irritation.

    Using a simple regimen of products designed to work together is a must for controlling acne. Despite the desire to banish pimples yesterday, applying more products from different lines can expose your skin to too much of a single ingredient. Patience, time and hands off are essentials in battling acne. Allow four to six weeks for products to work.

    Note: Don’t think that if you wear mineral makeup you can skip cleansing. Even mineral makeup can mix with oils in your skin and cause breakouts.

    Seeing an esthetician is a great way to thoroughly unclog pores, kill bacteria and soothe inflammation. If your skin doesn't start to clear up after a month to six weeks of use, visit a dermatologist.

    Category: Acne

    Learning Center Category: Acne, Skincare Products

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  • Acne Myths

    Mar 18 2014 12:19 PM

    Acne myths abound regarding the causes of acne, who gets it and treatments.

    What Are Common Myths About Acne?

    Acne Myth # 1: Diet does not affect acne

    For many years, food was blamed on causing acne. Chocolate and French fries, a teen diet staple were considered prime culprits. Then, for many years the reigning acne theory was that diet does not affect acne. Acne sufferers rejoiced.

    It turns out that the original belief that diet does affect acne was correct. Research has shown that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, does not cause acne. Rather it is the other ingredients in the chocolate that may cause acne, like the refined sugar, and milk. Trans fats often used in French fries and other fast foods actually increase inflammation in the body. Acne is a disease of inflammation so consuming foods (See diet and acne for more information)

    Acne Myth # 2: Acne is caused by dirty skin

    If acne was simply due to being dirty, simple cleansing of the skin would eradicate this complex disorder. There is no question that bacteria is a big component of acne, but this is beyond the skin’s surface.

    Acne Myth # 3: Sun exposure helps acne and sunscreen causes it.

    Dermatologists used to condone this myth and prescribed sitting under a sun lamp as part of an acne treatment protocol. While sun exposure does promote production of vitamin D, excess UV exposure is not a solution for any skin condition.

    There is much debate over whether chemical sunscreens or physical sunscreens cause more breakouts. Synthetically sourced sunscreens are believed to cause irritation so all skin types would be wise to avoid them. A few sources indicated that physical sunscreens like zinc and titanium dioxide can sit on the surface, blocking sweat, which can cause acne. On the contrary, zinc and titanium dioxide are good ingredients for acne as zinc is healing and titanium dioxide is a natural antiseptic.

    Acne Myth # 4 Acne is just something that teens experience

    One of the biggest acne myths is that adolescent acne is normal part of being a teen and it is something you just outgrow.

    This is false on many levels. Acne is not exclusive to teenagers nor is it something that is simply outgrown. Practically all people will experience acne during their lifetime, up to 85%!

    Many who hold this false belief, disregard the impact acne can have and treat acne as a sort of hopeless cause and fail to seek out help. Immediate and consistent care must be taken to control acne so as to prevent the potential lifelong effects such as scarring and self esteem issues. More severe forms of acne must not be ignored and should be dealt with systemically through the help of a dermatologist.

    Acne Myth # 5 Makeup and Cleansing

    Some people think that they don’t have to cleanse if they don’t wear makeup. Others believe that they don’t have to cleanse if they wear mineral makeup since it is supposed to be good for their skin. With or without makeup, mineral or otherwise, your skin can get a build-up of oil and dirt that can cause breakouts.

    Category: Acne

    Learning Center Category: Acne

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