The onset of puberty is often signaled by the appearance of tiny reddish bumps on the skin – especially the face. These bumps or pimples better as acne become infected and scar the skin, sending teenagers and adults rushing to the medicine cabinet for an instant cure.
Acne is one of the commonest skin disorders. It is an infection of the skin, accompanied by an increased production of oil by the sebaceous glands. This oil combines with dead skin cells and the resulting debris blocks hair follicles. Such conditions are ideal for skin bacteria that multiply quickly giving the skin a swollen, red and somewhat embarrassing appearance. Acne affects much more than the skin. It influences personality and self-esteem.
The causes of acne are not yet fully understood. As a result, there is no real antidote. It is believed that the hormonal surge that accompanies puberty is responsible for acne. Hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands, excessive dead skin cells, bacterial infections and chemicals like chlorine are also listed as causes. There are as many myths about the causes of acne as there are facts. It is believed that consumption of fatty foods like butter; greasy food, chocolates and sugar are causes. These suggestions lack scientific evidence.
Cures for acne are designed to tackle bacterial infection, reduce the secretion of oil glands and remove dead skin cells. Creams and lotions which crowd super market shelves offer a four-fold benefit to the user. These include eradication of the infection, removal of dead cells, stemming the production of oil and masking the discomfiting bumps and scars caused by acne. It is always advisable to consult a dermatologist before using a skin lotion or ointment for acne. There are a few precautions one can take to reduce the effects of acne. These are, washing the face regularly using warm water and a mild soap. You should also avoid squeezing pimples, strong sunlight and excessive use of makeup.
While acne often disappears in adulthood, it could leave deep scars and skin blemishes on the body. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons have developed several techniques to mask facial scars. Some of these are dermabrasion, laser resurfacing and punch excision. Chemical peels that remove dead skin layers are also widely used. Stress is known to increase acne in some people. Exercise and controlled diet help reduces stress and the spread of acne. Acne cannot be prevented, but judicious use of available solutions goes along way in reducing its impact on the skin and more importantly on the mind.