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Acne

Causes, symptoms & treatments

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What is it?

Acne is a disease of the hair follicles of the face, back and chest. Acne commonly occurs during puberty when the sebeacous (oil) glands come to life, the glands are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands of both males and females.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of acne will be noticed on areas of the body with the most oil glands, such as the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Each individual’s symptoms of acne will vary. If the plugged follicle is close to the surface of the skin, it will bulge outwards creating a whitehead. Alternatively, the plugged follicle can be open to the skin, creating a blackhead. Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles causing papules, pustules, nodules or cysts. It can last for many months and sometimes years if left untreated.

What are the causes?

Acne can be caused by genetics, hormonal imbalance, birth control medication (once you stop), stress, heat, sun and humidity, diet, and current skincare regime.

What should you avoid?

There are several ways to avoid acne. Keeping your face cleansed removes impurities, dead skin cells and extra oil from the skin’s surface. Moisturizing minimizes the dryness in the skin and prevents it from peeling. Using the appropriate product for your skin type will balance the oil, bacteria and dryness of your skin. Avoiding the use of make up during breakouts or using make up that is labelled as Non-Comedogenic should not cause or promote acne. Touching the face or propping cheek/chin with your hands is something to avoid, it not only can spread bacteria but can also irritate already inflamed facial skin. Limiting exposure to the sun especially at noon and applying sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is essential. Not eating greasy food and junk food, limiting the intake of dairy products and foods high in processed sugar will reduce the risk of acne. During exercise the best way to avoid breakouts is by wearing clothing and using exercise equipment that doesn’t rubs against the skin. It is vital to Shower or bathe right after exercise to keep the skin clean.

Who is affected?

Acne is a condition that affects most people at some time during their lives. It often (but not always) occurs during the teenage years, although it can affect children and older people as well.

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