What everyone needs to know about acne causes, prevention and treatment (pt.1)
by Theron Hutton MD
Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by the appearance of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads on the face, neck, back, and chest. While acne is often associated with teenage years, it can also occur in adults.
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of acne. These include:
Hormonal changes: During puberty, the body's production of hormones called androgens increases, leading to an increase in sebum production. Sebum is an oil produced by the sebaceous glands that helps to keep the skin moisturized. However, excess sebum can clog pores and lead to the development of acne. Hormonal changes can also occur during pregnancy, menopause, and the use of certain medications, such as birth control pills, which can also contribute to acne.
Bacteria: P. acnes is a type of bacteria that lives on the skin. When the pores of the skin become clogged with excess sebum and dead skin cells, P. acnes can grow and multiply, leading to inflammation and the development of acne.
Genetic factors: Acne can run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the condition.
While there is no surefire way to prevent acne, there are certain steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and improve the appearance of the skin.
Here are a few:
Tip #1 - Keep it clean
One way to prevent acne is to keep the skin clean and well-moisturized. Washing the face twice a day with a mild, oil-free cleanser can help to remove excess oil and dirt from the pores. Using a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic (meaning it does not clog pores) can help to hydrate the skin and keep it healthy. Avoiding picking or squeezing pimples can also help to prevent the spread of bacteria and further irritation of the skin.
Tip #2 - Choose wisely
Another way to prevent acne is to be mindful of the products used on the skin. Some products, such as heavy or oil-based moisturizers and makeup, can clog pores and contribute to the development of acne. It is important to use products that are labeled as non-comedogenic and to remove makeup before going to bed.
"Most cases of Acne I see can be improved drastically by simple changes" – Donna Parker of Mulberry Medical Aesthetics.
Tip #3 - Food matters
A healthy diet can also play a role in acne prevention. It is important to eat a varied diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as these foods are high in antioxidants and can help to improve the appearance of the skin. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar and dairy products may also help to reduce the risk of acne outbreaks.
Tip #4 - Some medicines may be helpful
In addition to these general prevention strategies, individuals who are prone to acne may benefit from the use of over-the-counter or prescription acne medications. These medications, which can be in the form of creams, gels, or oral medications, can help to unclog pores, kill bacteria, and reduce inflammation. It is important to follow the instructions for use carefully and to consult a dermatologist if acne persists or worsens.
While it is not possible to completely prevent acne, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and improve the appearance of the skin. These steps include keeping the skin clean and moisturized, being mindful of the products used on the skin, eating a healthy diet, and using over-the-counter or prescription acne medications as needed. References:
American Academy of Dermatology. (2020). Acne. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne
Mayo Clinic. (2019). Acne. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047
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