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Acne And Its Treatment Options

Author : Callum Asterman

The inner components of our skin remain largely hidden most of the time, quietly getting on with their task of keeping us healthy, but it's interesting to understand what exactly goes on under the surface and why we are built the way we are. The sebaceous glands are one such element that merit a closer look, keeping the skin itself fit and functional. The oil in the machine some might say.

With the specific example of the sebaceous glands, however, the oiling idea can be taken a little more literally. That's because sebum, the substance that the sebaceous glands produce, is an oily, waxy substance that slowly and microscopically oozes out, keeping our skin moist and stopping it from drying, as well as producing a barrier to bacteria on the skin, which it does in conjunction with sweat and other secretions.

The rate at which these glands can produce this secretion is controlled by hormone levels, something that can cause issues sometimes. So at different periods of our lives, the tap can really be turned up, and our sebum production goes into overdrive. One such time this happens is during adolescence, and this is the time of life that adolescent acne rears its ugly head. But hormonal changes are not restricted to puberty. Times of stress, pregnancy, poor health or going through the menopause are also known to cause the hormonal changes that trigger acne outbreaks.

How exactly does this sebum over-production create the condition of acne? Doesn't it just get washed away? On the whole, the answer is yes. The problem starts when blockages occur. Typically these blockages will be caused by tiny pieces of dead skin which are unavoidable and happen to all of us all the time â€" they usually work their way out. But when the flow of sebum is higher, the blockage will start backing up much more quickly and fill the hair follicle. We've all seen the whiteheads that appear on the top of a red spot â€" this is just such a blockage expanding in size. It is important to let the head run its course because puncturing the head can create a high risk of infection.

Sometimes the blockage occurs deeper within the skin. This will manifest itself as a blackhead, and these are more likely to progress into acne if and when the built-up fluid beneath it gets infected. Acne is the common name for the cysts, pustules and nodules that form beneath the surface of the skin and build up, resulting in that inflamed look, red areas of colour and an uneven, unattractive surface.

Acne is surrounded by tales and myths, such as it being caused by a poor diet or lack of exercise. While there is nothing wrong with improving one's diet and aiming for a more healthy lifestyle, and the theoretical reduction in illness and stress can help, they are the real direct causes. As stated earlier, it is hormones that trigger the increased production of sebum levels within our bodies and these are things of which we have no control. In other words, if you get acne, don't blame yourself.

Fortunately acne can be treated very effectively now. One of the most widely used is retinol, a form of vitamin A, which can return sebum production to normal levels. With medical supervision it is safe to use, and is the usual first treatment method. Failing this, however, a more direct approach can be investigated such as laser treatment to target the bacteria, hormones to normalise sebum production or treat infections directly with medicine or antibiotics.

Acne is a difficult condition to deal with, it affects ones looks and can cause discomfort, but there are various options for anyone suffering from acne, and in many cases treatment is very effective.

Author's Resource Box

Callum has a wide knowledge of many skin improvement procedures and considers acne treatment to be continually improving in effectiveness. Callum also researches anti-aging skin treatment and other procedures for a mix of publications.

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Tags:   acne

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Submitted : 2011-07-22    Word Count : 776    Times Viewed: 641