1. Health

Teenage Acne

Review of causes and treatments

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Updated December 27, 2006

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Severe acne

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You've got large angry red spots - you've got acne.

1) About 85 per cent of teenagers, from about 12 years old and upwards, develop acne. That is 17 million people in USA, counting older people.
  2) You can do something about it.You don't have to put up with it.

Causes of Acne
During the onset of puberty the body begins to produce hormones called androgens. Boys tend to produce more of them, and the acne tends to be more severe, sorry! The hair follicles (pores on the skin) get blocked. The extra oil produced in puberty, mixed with dead skin and general dirt, block the pores and that trapped material reacts with bacteria causing swelling, redness and sometimes pus.

The good news is that acne is not caused by chocolate or greasy food. Neither is it caused by masturbation, so you can cross that one off the list. Acne is not anything to do with general hygiene either although this isn't a cause to stop washing as good hygiene does help to keep the skin fresh and prevents infection.

Tips to help control Acne
Wash your skin twice a day, especially after exercise. Always wash before you go to bed. Use a mild soap unless you find you need some thing more astringent but avoid harsh high concentration alcohol products. Use a toner. Exfoliate using a formula with small smooth grains rather than almond or apricot shell fragments that can damage your skin making acne worse.

Wash your hair every day. Greasy hair rubbing on your skin or transferring grease by playing with your hair and then touching your face will make acne worse.

Try not to squeeze or pick your spots as you (a) may introduce more infection and make the spots worse or (b) you may, by stopping the spots from healing increase the chances of scarring. If you cannot resist popping your spots wash your face and hands first and use a sterilized needle, (use a flame or alcohol). Black-head extractors can remove them more hygienically than squeezing them with your fingers.

If you use a cover up stick to hide your spots use an oil free one. Hair gels, sprays may aggravate your acne so find products that suit you. Remember early treatment for acne can prevent scarring. If none of these tips work or if your acne does not improve enough to make you feel good there are products in the drug stores and chemists that do not require a prescription but could help. 

Medical advice for acne
If your spots are still not improving or are getting worse see your family doctor or a dermatologist. They may decide that you require a course of treatment. Remember that all drugs have side effects, so get as much information as you can before making your decisions. Maybe find and speak to someone who has tried them?

Treatments for acne
There are now a lot of treatments available for the treatment of acne. Don't put up with acne, get advice and get rid of it. Here are some of the current treatments that will help you to a better clearer, skin.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide kills the bacteria that causes acne. Used on the skin, (topically).
  • Topical antibiotics, a powder or cream used on the skin to kill the bacteria.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide combined with an antibiotics, such as erythromycin or oxytetracycline. Antibiotics kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
     
  • Retinoids. (Accutaine, Roaccutane). This drug unclogs the pores and encourages skin renewal. Some users report side effects such as emotional problems, so it is important that your dermatologist carefully monitors the treatment regime.
  • For More Information About Acne

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