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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Acne 101: A Primer

Causes of Acne
Acne is a condition that affects 20% of adults in the United States, approximately 60 million Americans. It affects all ages, races, and genders and, unfortunately, is one of the more stigmatized medical conditions, causing many people to experience significant depression and social alienation.

Additionally, treating acne can be a difficult, time-consuming ordeal and can sometimes still leave behind scars. Some sufferers seek acne scar treatment to erase the lesions left behind from bad cases of acne.

Most people associate acne with the hormones released during adolescence. While this is certainly a common source, it is not the only one. There are in fact, multiple causes for acne and each one may require a different treatment. Here are the 5 main causes of acne:

Hormones

Again, the most commonly associated cause of acne is the hormones released during adolescence. During puberty, male sex hormones create more androgen, which enlarges follicle glands and increases production of sebum. Other hormonal causes of acne include menopause, pregnancy and menstrual cycles.

Genes

Acne is not always genetic, but a predisposition to it can run in families. This predisposition can also make children more susceptible to acne lesions and scars.

Stress

Medical experts are still debating the role of stress in acne, but most agree that it does contribute to and, in some cases, cause acne. Many clinical studies have shown that high levels of stress (which are know to create hormonal imbalances) contribute to worsening acne conditions.

Infection

An anaerobic bacterium known as P. acnes causes acne, as does Staphylococcus epidermis. What is still unclear is whether these strains arise pathogenically or in relation to other adverse factors.

Diet

People often think that high sugar levels are what cause acne when really it is a matter of the glycemic load (GL) someone is consuming. The GL index determines how much a person’s blood glucose will rise. To be sure, foods with high sugar levels dominate the top of this list. Most commercial sodas and pastries contribute to worsening acne.

Treatment

Treatments for acne run the gamut from first line medications, antiseptics, antibiotics, hormones, topical retinoids, and anti-inflammatories to cosmetic procedures like dermabrasion, phototherapy light exposure, laser treatment and even surgery. People also try alternative medicines like egg oil, tea tree oil, and aloe vera. Natural treatments include dietary changes and exercise. Consult a doctor before pursuing any acne treatment.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to have come across this post. I found this post to be interesting and helpful. I would love to read more articles like this and will check back for any future updates posted here. Thanks.

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