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Acne - The Truth

Sep 3, 2008
Acne goes by many names -- zits, pimples, whiteheads, blackheads. One thing they all have in common is that they are never welcomed by anyone, particularly by teenagers.

Unfortunately, acne is a part of life; it's a common ailment that affects millions of people in the world. It's most common among adolescents, and this skin condition makes life all the more difficult for teenagers. It's bad enough that teens have to deal with facial hair, bodily changes and raging hormones; acne just makes things even worse. Why in the world is there such a thing?

Acne vulgaris is the name used to refer to this common problem and it is believed to be caused by a number of things. In male teenagers, it is caused by high levels of testosterone, the male hormone. Among females, it can be the result of the hormonal imbalance due to the menstrual cycle.

Then there are the other changes occurring in the body of an individual going through puberty. However, acne is mainly caused by bacteria on the skin that react with the oils, dirt and dead skin cells that clog the pores.

Other factors can lead to acne or make the condition much worse. For instance, too much chlorine exposure is responsible for a long lasting type of the condition. Anabolic steroids have also been found to trigger this skin condition.

In the past, many people believed that poor hygiene was the cause. This was the predominant belief which caused many teenagers to scrub their faces raw to be rid of the zits and blackheads. Little did they know that the frequent cleaning and vigorous scrubbing only made their problem worse.

Similarly, people believed that certain foods were responsible. For instance,chocolate and fried foods were believed to trigger acne. This belief stemmed from the fact that candy bars, chocolates, French fries, hamburgers, fish and chips, tator tots, and fried chicken were the staple foods of teenagers. And since the condition was very prevalent among teenagers, it was natural for people to link it to certain foods, although no medical or scientific connection has ever been established.

The truth is that acne is a part of growing up, and there are only very few people who manage to go through puberty without a zit. A lot of those who develop the condition during puberty outgrow it. It just disappears. In fact, most people no longer have to deal with it once they enter into their twenties. There are, however, those whose problem doesn't leave them even after the adolescent stage.

There are two categories:inflamed acne and non-inflamed acne. Blackheads and whiteheads fall under the non-inflamed category. Whiteheads are clogged follicles made up of dead skin cells plugging the pores. Blackheads are essentially like whiteheads, only they are clogged follicles that have become oxidized, hence the reason they are dark in color. Contrary to what many believe, blackheads do not come from dirt.

Zits or pimples fall under the inflamed category. They are typically reddish and look swollen or inflamed. Red pimples are the most common; larger cysts are a cause for concern. Pimples are actually whiteheads that failed to develop into blackheads. Instead of the pores becoming plugged, the pore walls break down and turn into a repository for oil, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria. White blood cells start fighting the infection in the pore walls, resulting in the formation of pus.

The pimples can be rather painful, but it is the larger cysts that should be watched closely;if they keep coming back, medical attention may be needed.

As many misconceptions as there are about the causes of acne, there is just as many misconceptions about its cure. For instance, many people believe that exposing skin to the sun will cure the problem. Not true. Sure, it may look like it disappeared, but it's still there; the skin only got darker. What is sure, though, is that too much sun exposure causes wrinkles and increases one's risk of developing skin cancer.

Thanks to research and numerous clinical studies, there are now many scientifically proven acne treatments, many of them available over the counter and as prescription medications. There are also natural acne remedies.

It's a good idea, however, for anyone with the condition to talk to a medical professional before trying out any kind of treatment.
About the Author
Article written by Norman Holden editor and owner of http://www.Acne-Tips-Treatment.com a website about Acne Tips and Treatment . Visit his website on a regular basis for up-to-date news and help.
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