Why Is My Skin Breaking Out With Acne?
At the eruption of those first tender acne lesions, the first disparaging thought that comes to mind is, "Why me?" As doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology, AAD, state, acne can happen to anyone of any age, although it's more likely to occur at specific stages of life more so than others. Once you discover why your skin is breaking out with acne, you can know better how unsightly pimples can be treated--as well as what you can expect with this particular skin condition.
Recipe for Acne
Acne, or acne vulgaris, is the most common skin condition in the United States, according to the AAD, which estimates that between 40 million and 50 million people are prone so pestilent pustules, papules, comedones, including whiteheads and blackheads, as well as nodules and cysts. The primary cause of acne is the release of male hormones during your teen years, says the Cleveland Clinic. This causes your sebaceous glands to secrete more oil than they normally would. Factor in the bacteria that resides on your skin's surface and the dead skin cells that are constantly shedding within the hair follicles within your pores, and a pimple is born. The Cleveland Clinic indicates that typical places on your body for acne to strike include your face, shoulders, back and chest--places where you have a lot of oil glands.
Hormonal changes place you more at risk for getting acne than other people, according to the Mayo Clinic. Simply being a teenager--a boy or girl--makes you more likely to get it. Females are more likely to get pimples two to seven days before their menstrual periods. Pregnant women are also more likely to get acne, are do people to take some types of medications, such as cortisone. Acne tends to run in families, the Mayo Clinic explains. If your mom or dad broke out with acne, you're more likely to get it, too. Even adults get acne, according to the AAD, especially women, who continue to experience hormonal fluctuations even after their teen years.
What Makes Acne Worse
Getting acne is bad enough--but there are certain things that make it worse. The Cleveland Clinic notes that pimples get worse if you pick, squeeze or poke at them. Hats and sports helmets that hug tightly to your skin can also make acne worse. Greasy cosmetics and lotions exacerbate pimples, so if you have them, it's important to choose skincare products that are oil-free. Even your environment comes into play. Air pollution and places high in humidity can even affect acne.
Is Acne My Fault?
There are many myths attached to acne, and one is that it's caused by having a "dirty" face. The AAD states that acne isn't caused by dirt or the oil on your skin. If you wash your face too frequently and harshly, your pimples can even get worse. Nor is acne caused by the food you eat. According to the AAD, studies to date don't suggest that acne is linked to greasy, sugary foods--not even chocolate. You can exercise good hygiene simply by washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and patting your skin dry. If you feel that eating certain foods make your pimples worse, the AAD suggests that you simply avoid them. However, if you treat acne the right way, the food you eat won't make any difference.
How Should I Treat Acne?
Three topical medications have proved themselves as effective agents against acne: over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide, a class of prescription topical medications called retinoids, and topical and oral prescription antibiotics, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you have extremely bad acne--painful, disfiguring nodules and cysts--your doctor may recommend a potent oral drug called isotretinoin. Women with acne may find low-dose estrogen and progesterone--oral contraceptives--beneficial, especially if they experience irregular periods and thinning hair--a indication that they have excessive levels of a male hormone called androgen.
Will It Go Away?
Almost every case of acne is treatable, according to the AAD. However, pimples won't go away overnight; it takes between six weeks and eights weeks to see a noticeable improvement in your complexion. The AAD urges you to make an appointment with a dermatologist if acne affects the way you feel about yourself--if it makes you shy or embarrassed--or if you have painful cysts and nodules and are starting the notice scarring. You'll get the best results from your acne treatment if you follow your dermatologist's advice and use medications as directed.
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