Skin & Acne Scars
The skin contains sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum, the medical term for skin oil. When the sebaceous glands become inflamed, they overproduce sebum, which climbs the hair follicle and shaft. Skin rejuvenation leaves dead skin flakes to collect on the surface, inviting bacteria. The body's reaction to excess sebum, dead skin and bacteria is to fight the infection and protect the area. Thus, a pimple, or acne, is formed. Unattended acne leaves scarring and deformity.
Types of Acne
Noninflammatory acne consists of formed whiteheads and blackheads. Blackheads contain melanin, whereas whiteheads do not. Inflammatory acne consists of pustules, which are pimples filled with pus; papules, which are pimples without pus; and cysts. Inflammatory acne is the more severe of the two kinds. Both kinds affect pubescent boys more than girls. Sometimes acne continues into the 20s and 30s. Pubescent girls and women in menopause break out due to the body's hormonal adjustments. Pregnancy can also trigger breakouts.
Why some people get acne less and scar less severely than others has much to do with genetics. Darker-skinned individuals seem to have shorter, less severe flare-ups than lighter-skinned people, due to the resistant qualities of melanin. Well-maintained skin also leads to less severe eruptions of acne and scarring.
Some scars, called atrophic or crateriform scars, result when a crater of skin occupies a once-formed pimple. Another form of scarring is the discoloration of skin, called macules. This condition is known as postinflammatory [hyper]pigmentation (PIP). In lighter-skinned individuals, the skin underneath the pimples turns a shade of pink; darker-skinned individuals' macules range from light brown to a black-brown. Hypertrophic scars and keloids, benign lumps of tissue, are types of overscarring.
Home Prevention and Treatment
Preventing scars means cleansing the skin and removing oil buildup. Oily-skinned individuals fair better with creams, gels and foams. For those with dry skin, ointments prevent buildup of oil and bacteria and keep skin smooth.
A Milk of Magnesia facial mask is praised by home remedy users. This works best for oily-skinned individuals, because it absorbs excess skin oils.
Benzoyl peroxide is the effective treatment of choice for doctors and acne-sufferers alike. The cream/lotion form of benzoyl peroxide is more effective than the soap form. It is available over the counter. Be careful not to overuse it, as its main ingredient, peroxide, which is a bleach, dries the skin.
Clinical Treatments for Scars
Scarring can leave excess tissue and/or red blotches on the skin. Doctors will prescribe topical creams/ointments before oral antibiotic prescriptions for mild acne cases. Cortisone controls the hormones, avoiding scarring, but is a last resort for treatment since it has side effects. Accutane is powerful at getting rid of severe acne, but it should not be taken while pregnant because it leads to birth defects.
Traditional surgery tackles cyst scars that deform skin. Radiofrequency methods shrink scars. The use of light lasers is an effective way of treating severe cases, but tanning beds, even though they lessen scars, should be avoided because of the risk of cancer.
Emotional scars stemming from a poor complexion can lead to depression. A person can become withdrawn due to the shame and sometimes ridicule that result from having a severely scarred face.
Scars should never deter anyone from pursuing the joys of life. Researchers are always developing new treatments and technologies to foster clear, smooth skin.
Don't hesitate to research the best ways to better you skin. Face life head on with better knowledge and eventually, a clearer complexion.
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