About Acne Problems
Acne problems are more than skin deep. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) points out that the psychosocial effects of acne are recently becoming more readily apparent as old myths about acne are dispelled and new treatments become available to the public. Although a pimpled complexion can result in dire "psychological, emotional and social disturbances," says the AAD, many patients remain unaware that there is a remedy for their acne problems.
Acne is a common skin disorder in the United States and affects 85 percent of the population, says the AAD. Yet myths and misinformation about how acne forms and how it can be treated remains abundant. Acne problems generally first arise during adolescence, when hormones trigger the sebaceous glands to produce too much oil. Combine oily skin with bacteria that normally resides on the skin and skin cells that shed within the hair follicle, and clogged pores and inflammation occurs. Acne problems may be associated with less than adequate hygiene and other myths and misinformation. The AAD cites studies indicating that washing the face more than twice a day has minimal effect on decreasing acne.
Myths and Misinformation
Numerous myths and misinformation still exists regarding the cause of acne problems. The AAD cites a 2005 survey conducted at Sanford University indicating that many students with acne still clung to the age-old myths that acne is caused by a poor diet or decreased sleep--or that exercising either improves acne or makes it worse. Drinking more water won't help acne, nor will getting a tan. The AAD states that the beliefs that acne is caused by having a dirty face or by eating pizza, french fries, chocolate and other foods are generally accepted as fact by younger generations who are bequeathed this misinformation by their elders.
One of the bigger myths is that acne should be allowed to run its course, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But during this time, the psychosocial impact to those with acne problems can be devastating. The AAD references studies that indicates common problems among those with acne include depression, social isolation, poor body/self-image, obsession with acne, anger/frustration and even lower employment rates.
There is no way to prevent acne in teenagers--or people of any other age. The AAD states that persistent or late-onset acne can affect people in their thirties, forties and fiftiess, and women, who are more prone to life-long hormonal fluctuations, are more at risk. Many people are confused about how acne can be treated and spend money on skincare products that promise a miracle cure but fail to deliver. The AAD indicates that although some consumer products work better than others, treatment from a dermatologist using FDA-approved medications and procedures resolves acne almost 100 percent of the time.
Medical treatments vary, depending on the severity of the acne problem, says the FDA. Prescription topicals may include antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid and dapsone. Topical retinoids, which are Vitamin A derivatives, may be used alone or in conjunction with a topical antibiotic. Moderate or severe acne may require the use of prescription oral medications, such as antibiotics or oral contraceptives, as well as topical medications. Those with deep, cystic acne--lesions that cause the most extensive scarring--may need to take a potent oral medication called isotretinoin to resolve acne.
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