Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Body & Scalp Acne

Body & Scalp Acne Body & Scalp Acne Body & Scalp Acne

Overview

Red, painful pimples aren't just limited to your face. Although they can pop up anywhere on the body, they are particularly common in areas that have an increased number of sweat glands, such as your chest, head, buttocks, back and shoulders. Developing a thorough skin care regimen can help you keep body acne under control.

Identification

Acne occurs when oil glands in your pores clog with oil and dead skin cells. P. acnes bacteria, a type of bacteria found on your skin, causes inflammation and redness in the clogged pore, resulting in a pimple or cyst. You may notice that the pimples on your body look bigger than the ones on your face. Thicker skin and larger pores on the body can result in bigger pimples that can be very painful.

Contributing Factors

Your age and sex may play a part in the development of acne. Excess oil production caused by hormones released during adolescence, menstruation or pregnancy can increase acne on your face and body. Having oily skin and hair can increase or worsen acne on the scalp or hairline because any extra oil on your skin can clog your pores. Using lotions, sunscreen, makeup and other skin products that contain oil can also contribute to clogged pores. It's not clear what role diet plays in acne, but what you eat may have some impact on your acne. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests avoiding foods that seem to worsen your acne.

Prevention

While it may be impossible to completely prevent body or scalp acne, you can take steps to reduce it. Cleaning your body daily with warm water and a mild cleanser will remove excess oil and bacteria. Washing your hair every day is important if you have scalp acne. Oily hair can cause an increase in acne on both your scalp and your face. Showering and changing clothing after exercising helps reduce irritation and chafing that can worsen acne. Removing makeup and skin care products from your face before you go to bed will help prevent clogged pores.

Treatment

Over-the-counter lotions, creams and gels that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help relieve mild acne by killing bacteria and drying out pimples. If your acne doesn't improve using over-the-counter preparations, your doctor may prescribe a retinoid, a vitamin-A derivative that promotes rapid turnover of skin cells. Your doctor may also recommend that you use oral antibiotics in addition to topical medication. Birth control pills may be helpful in reducing acne in women who notice an increase in outbreaks during menstruation. Doctors use injections of corticosteroids to help heal deep acne lesions.

Considerations

When other treatments fail to improve acne, your doctor may suggest you take isotretinoin, a powerful drug used when severe acne doesn't respond to other treatments. Isotretinoin treatment usually lasts for five to six months, and one course of treatment may cure severe acne forever, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Since isotretinoin use can cause birth defects, women must agree to use a reliable method of birth control while taking the medication.

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