Skin Care
Acne - Causes and Cures
By Genesis Pharmaceutical, Inc.
May 23, 2004, 11:01

Seven things you need to know about acne

1. You aren't what you eat... at least when it comes to acne. Pizza, french fries and chocolate may not be the healthiest foods you can eat, but they don't cause acne or make it worse.

2. Stress doesn't cause acne. But it doesn't help it either. If you're stressed, talk about your problems with friends, family or a professional.

3. You can't wash away acne. Scrubbing your skin or washing your face many times a day won't help your acne. In fact, it could irritate your skin. A good acne skin regimen consisting of mild cleansing and topical treatment will help control acne.

4. You can use a moisturizer on skin with acne. Be sure it's a moisturizer that's non-comedogenic, which means it won't clog your pores. In fact, any products you use on acne-prone skin should be non-comedogenic.

5. You can't catch acne from anyone—except your mother or father. Acne isn't contagious, but it does run in families. So if either of your parents had it as teenagers, you're more likely to have acne, too.

6. Pimples don't deserve a big squeeze. Squeezing pimples can cause scarring and lengthen the time it takes for them to go away. You can, however, have blackheads or whiteheads extracted by a dermatologist.

7. Acne is a medical problem and your doctor can help. Your doctor or dermatologist is the best qualified to diagnose and treat acne. See your professional first, even if you think you have a mild case of acne. There's no reason to suffer from acne when it can be controlled with everything from antibiotics to birth control pills.

What is acne?
Acne (acne vulgaris) is a skin disorder characterized by whiteheads (closed comedones), blackheads (open comedones) and pimples (papules). It most often affects the face, but may also appear on the neck, shoulder, chest and back.

Acne begins with hair follicles, which contain oil-secreting (sebaceous) glands. In normal skin, oil (sebum) from these glands is released on the surface of the skin through the pores. When the sebaceous glands enlarge due to an increase in sebum, the pores become clogged (blackheads and whiteheads) and eventually inflamed (pimples).

Who gets acne?
While it's widely thought that acne is a problem mostly affecting teenagers, adult acne is just as common, affecting 95% of the population at some time in adulthood.

What causes acne?
Overactive oil-producing glands, which contribute to clogged pores, as well as genetic and hormonal factors play a role in the development of acne. Specifically, the male hormones (androgens) are now believed to be an important factor in acne development. The increased hormonal activities that come with puberty contribute to the incidence of teenage acne.

Effective acne treatments
Treating acne is a daily, long-term process that includes a good skin-care regimen, topical treatments and the advice of a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist. Your doctor will suggest products or prescribe medications containing ingredients widely used to control acne , such as:

  • Tretinoin
  • Isotretinoin
  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Sulfur
  • Resorcinol

Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative that has been used in the treatment of acne for more than 30 years. Because it actually works beneath the surface of the skin where acne begins, only professionals can prescribe it. Tretinoin (most commonly known by the trade name Retin-A®) is available in different strengths and has some side effects, including making skin sensitive to sunlight. Ask your doctor if this medication is right for you.

Isotretinoin (commonly known as Accutane®) is generally prescribed for severe acne problems and when acne doesn't respond to other treatments. It can have serious side effects including birth defects.

Antibiotics are prescribed for topical or oral use. The purpose of antibiotic acne treatment is to reduce the normal skin bacteria called propionobacterium acnes that contribute to acne. Oral antibiotics are often prescribed for more resistant cases of acne. Tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin and doxycycline are the most frequently prescribed oral antibiotics.

Birth control pills are prescribed to balance hormones and reduce acne caused by the imbalance. Sometimes oral contraceptives can cause acne. If you start the Pill and develop acne, your doctor may switch you to another kind. If you have acne and birth control pills are prescribed as a treatment, you can expect to see results in three to four months.

Sulfur, resorcinol and benzoyl peroxide are all antibacterial and peeling agents, but benzoyl peroxide can penetrate the pores. Your doctor can prescribe products with higher levels of benzoyl peroxide than you'll find in over-the-counter products.

Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that helps loosen dead skin cells and soften clogged pores.

Taking care of acne with a good daily regimen
Acne treatment won't succeed without a good, at-home skin care regimen. Your doctor will recommend the products and treatment that's right for you. It will include a cleanser, topical treatment and frequent use of a mask much like this 
Glytone regimen...

Cleanse twice a day with Glytone Acne Treatment Cleanser

After cleansing apply Glytone 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel

Three times a week use Glytone Sulfur Acne Treatment Masque

This article is taken from Genesis Pharmaceutical Website, used with permission.

© Copyright 2003 by unless otherwise specified  in the article