Acne is a common skin condition that afflicts people of all ages, but it is most prevalent among adolescents. One of the causes of acne is bacteria. The University of Michigan Health Services website states that propionibacterium acnes are normal skin bacteria that can act upon sebum and release irritating substances that cause inflammation of the skin. This irritation and inflammation is seen as an outbreak of acne.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, acne is the most common skin disease in the United States and is caused by an over production of sebum. It is not fully understood why some people produce too much sebum, but when they do, it can block pores and react with bacteria to cause inflammation. It is thought that the tendency to develop acne may run in families or be triggered by hormonal fluctuations.
Bacterial acne is not caused by eating greasy foods or sweets. According to the Mayo Clinic website, acne is not caused by dirt either. Excessive skin scrubbing or washing your face with harsh chemicals can actually do more harm than good because the skin irritation can make your acne worse. Another common misconception is that acne is just a nuisance that will clear up on its own. Many cases of acne do eventually clear up without medical intervention, but other cases require proper treatment so they do not cause permanent scars.
Persistent acne or severe outbreaks can cause embarrassment and low self-esteem. While acne is not a threat to your health, it can be difficult to cope with emotionally and can result in permanent scarring. Medical care may be needed for persistent acne so it will clear up faster with fewer lasting effects.
Bacterial acne can be treated with over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs. Acne creams that contain benzoyl peroxide have an antibiotic effect and also work to dry excess oil on the skin. Antibacterial creams are available by prescription. Clindamycin, metronidazole and erythromycin are often prescribed in combination with benzoyl peroxide. Other antibiotics like minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline and erythromycin may be taken orally to decrease skin bacteria and reduce the inflammation associated with your acne.
There are steps you can take to prevent the severity of your acne outbreaks and to reduce their frequency. Do not pick at your acne because this can increase inflammation and spread infection. Keep your hair clean, and wear it away from your face. Wash your face with a mild soap twice daily. Choose skin care products and cosmetics that are water-based rather than oil-based so they will not further clog your pores.
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