Acne is a skin condition occurring when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It usually appears on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Effective treatments are available, but acne can be persistent.
Acne is most common among teenagers, and it is reported that some younger children are getting acne as well.
Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier treatment is commenced, the better the results.
Acne signs and symptoms vary depending on severity:
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
- Blackheads (open plugged pores — the oil turns brown when it is exposed to air)
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
- Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)
If natural remedies don’t work it is always best to see the doctor or talk to your pharmacist for over the counter products, however there are several approaches you can take.
Firstly understanding the causes of acne is helpful. The four main factors include:
- Oil production
- Dead skin cells
- Clogged pores
Secondly there are also things that can aggravate acne, these include:
- Hormones - Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. In some cases pregnancy can increase sebum production and for some the contraceptive pill can also worsen acne.
- Certain medications - Drugs containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium can worsen acne.
- Diet -Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips — may trigger acne, as can chocolate.
- Stress -Stress can make acne worse.
- Sun – For some people the sun can worsen acne.
The best home remedies include:
- A healthy diet
- Washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser.
- For acne around the hair line, wash the hair every day.
- Avoid scrubs, astringents and masks as these can aggravate acne
- For men, be gentle when shaving affected areas.
- Avoid oily sunscreens, try a non-oily sunscreen.
- For women avoid oily cosmetics.
- Keep your hair off your face and avoid unnecessarily touching your face.
- Sweat and oils can contribute to acne, keep cool and wear loose fitting clothing.
- Don’t pick or squeeze blemishes as this can lead to infection or scarring.
- Zinc in lotions and creams may reduce acne breakouts. (Hemp Seeds & Oil contain Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc along with Vit E and other anti-oxidants along with Vit D3 and B vitamins).
- Green tea extract has been found to help some acne sufferers. As has aloe Vera and citrus juices, the juices however may also cause some irritation.
Acne can be a complex and distressing problem often requiring medical treatment however ensuring the good basic disciplines are in place can go a long way to alleviating acne and hopefully reduce the need for stronger treatments.
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