Acne and Pimples
The Mayo Clinic warns that "...acne can cause emotional distress and lead to scarring of the skin." Everyone experiences a problem with acne and pimples at some point in life, but some people are plagued with ongoing skin problems. Early treatment is important to avoiding long-term skin damage, and a group of over-the-counter and prescription medications provide effective relief for sufferers.
Mild Types of Acne
Acne is produced when bacteria builds up on the skin, and also when a combination of excessive oil and dead skin blocks the hair follicles. When the follicles are blocked, the dead cells and oil build up and create acne. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration describes mild acne as pimples that are otherwise called whiteheads and blackheads. If the hair follicle is completely plugged with oil and dead skin cells, the result is a whitehead. Blackheads are created when the oil and cells build up, but the follicle remains open.
Severe Acne Types
Papules, pustules, nodules and cysts are more severe forms of acne, according to the FDA, and they require advanced treatments. Papules are red skin lesions. Pustules and cysts are filled with pus. Nodules, the FDA notes, are located "deep within the skin." All four types are lesions that can create scarring if they are left untreated.
Increases in skin oil and excessive skin sloughing are cited by the Mayo Clinic as the main causes of acne and pimples. The exact causes of increased oil production are unknown, but teens, and pregnant and premenopausal women experience higher concentrations of oil than other people. Heredity and prescription medications, such as cortisone, are also thought to contribute to acne outbreaks. Greasy preparations that clog the pores when applied to the skin, including makeup, increase the risk of acne and pimples.
Eating chocolate and fried foods does not increase pimple or acne outbreaks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nor is dirt a contributing factor in acne. In fact, vigorous scrubbing to remove dirt actually increases the chances of an outbreak. Mild cleansers work best in cleaning the skin.
Acne treatment is dependent on the person, the type of acne and the severity of the outbreak. The key elements of treatment depend on seeking professional treatment and patience in trying various treatments until arriving at a workable system. Understanding that acne can never be cured is the first step in managing the skin condition. Medical treatment, including over-the-counter or prescription medications, may be required to reduce the severity of the outbreaks. Over-the-counter treatments often consist of topical creams containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Prescription treatments may include oral antibiotics or tretinoin.
The National Institutes of Health warn to avoid stress, heavy scrubbing, squeezing pimples and substances that apply oil on the skin, such as makeup. Items that are placed on the face, such as phones or headgear, may also contribute to acne and other skin problems, and you should avoid them.
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