Acne is a condition that begins at the start of puberty. With the increased amount of hormones running around in your body, the glands of your face an d sometimes your back and chest become overly active. Normal follicles, where hairs live, each have a single gland associated with them. Bacteria live in the gland and are kept in check by oxygen. A whitehead occurs when the overly sticky lining of the follicle slows the free flow of sebum, the product of the gland. If the sebum plug is pushed to the surface, a blackhead appears. It is black because of the chemical reactions on the surface, not because you are dirty. Because the gland is plugged, no oxygen can get to the bacteria, and the bacteria grow more rapidly. This results in chemical messages that attract “pus” cells, which create bumps and pustules. If the cysts and pustules break deeply, scarring may result because collagen is destroyed in the process.
The most common types of acne lesions are:
Whiteheads: These pimples form under the surface of the skin and appear as a small white bump on the skin.
Blackheads: These pimples form on the skin surface and are black in color.
Papules: These are small pink bumps that can be painful when you touch them.
Pustules: These pimples appear red at their base and are filled with pus.
Nodules: These are large, painful, solid pimples.
Cysts: These are deep, painful, pus-filled pimples and can cause scars.
Acne is common in teenagers because of excessive hormone production of androgens during puberty. These hormones make the oil glands produce more sebum and also clog the pores of your skin. It can also occur as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy or when birth control pills are started or stopped. In addition heredity may also play a role, where it runs in families. The use of certain drugs containing lithium and oily creams can also contribute to acne. In women, acne frequently worsens at the time of menstruation.
Diet can play a big role in making acne worse; try avoiding carbohydrates and dairy. These foods cause a lot of unexpected break-outs. Washing very frequently or vigorously with a cloth or puff can also irritate and peel your skin. Washing two to three times daily and after exercise with a soap substitute is more than enough.
It is now well-documented that nutrition does affect acne. The best diet is a low carb/hi protein one, with an eye toward a Low Glycemic Index. Avoiding milk, especially skim milk, as well as carbohydrates, will help reduce occult breakouts. Add foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids as well. Vitamin D has been shown to be a vital component in our lives. Unfortunately, we don’t make or eat enough. I recommend taking 5000 IU daily, forever!