Epidermis and Acne
Acne is skin condition that affects millions of Americans. It is marked by unsightly skin inflammations. These occur when excessive amounts of skin oil mix with the dead skin cells of the epidermis to block hair follicles. Acne is sometimes difficult to prevent but can usually be treated with an over-the-counter topical lotion.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, covering its entire surface. It serves several vital functions, including protection. Your skin provides a shield from heat, light, injury and infection. Your skin also helps regulate body temperature, store nutrients and contains nerve receptors. There are three layers of skin: the epidermis, dermis and fat layer. The epidermis is the outer most layer. It is made mostly of keratinocyte cells, which are constantly dying and shedding.
Acne is a skin condition in which the skin gets inflamed and produces clogged pores, blackheads and pimples. It usually occurs on the face, neck, shoulder and back. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, between 17 and 45 million people have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. Acne has several forms, including whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pastules, nodules and cysts.
Acne is caused when hair follicles become clogged. Every hair follicle is connected to a sebaceous gland, which produces an oil known as sebum. Sebum is used to lubricate your hair. However, too much oil can be problematic. The excessive level of sebum, along with the dead skin cell of the epidermis, can form a plug and block the hair follicle. This can cause the follicle to bulge and become a whitehead. Or, if the plug is open, it will darken and become a black head. Pimples occur when the follicle becomes inflamed or infected. If the blockage occurs deep inside the follicle, a lump known as a cyst will develop beneath the skin.
The goal of acne treatment is to reduce oil production, increase skin cell turnover, fight infection and reduce inflammation. Mild acne is usually treated with an over-the-counter topical lotion. These work by drying up oil and ridding the skin of dead cells. If these lotions prove ineffective, you can ask your doctor for a prescription to a topical ointment containing stronger medications. Other acne treatments include antibiotics, laser and light therapy, and cosmetic procedures.
Preventing acne can be difficult as some people are simply genetically prone to breakouts. However, there are certain measures that can help protect your skin. They include washing your skin daily, limiting use of makeup and using over-the-counter acne creams to dry oil.
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