What is Acne?
Acne Vulgaris (commonly called Acne) is a skin condition characterised by spots or pimples on the face, chest, neck and back. It occurs when the small glands along the hair follicles responsible for secreting a naturally occurring oil (sebum) on these areas become clogged with dead skin cells, excess sebum or bacteria.
Acne usually begins around puberty and peaks at age 18 years. However, in some instances, it can occur for the first time between the ages of 20 and 40.
Acne can be mild, moderate or severe in nature. In severe cases, it can persist for years and result in scarring and disfigurement. It can also have profound psychosocial effects. Many sufferers are embarrassed by the condition and find it difficult to socialise.
- Excess Sebum Production: Normally skin cells are shed and discharged in a regular cycle, but in acne dead skin cells, combined with excess amounts of sebum, form a plug in the hair follicle. This plug is called a microcomedo. Over time, the microcomedo becomes larger and results in the appearance of white or blackheads (comedones) on the skin’s surface.
- Bacterial Infection: Propionibacterium acnes is found in small numbers on normal skin but seems to thrive in an environment rich in sebum and follicular cells.
- Inflammation: may be a direct or indirect result of infection propionibacterium acnes.
- Hormonal Changes: It seems that hair follicles are more sensitive to the level of male hormones (Androgens) in the blood. Excess production of Androgens, during puberty for example, can cause the sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum and acne can result. Acne can also develop in women during times of hormonal change when the level of androgens in the blood may rise.
- Allergies: can be responsible for a lot of acne and it’s important to look at diet especially in relation to cravings for a particular type of food. We tend to love or hate our Allergies and if we consistently want to eat the same food we may be allergic to it.
To avoid flare-ups gentle, non-abrasive cleaning with a natural cleanser is best as vigorous cleaning/scrubbing can aggravate the condition. Soaps, detergents and astringents do not alter sebum production and can even aggrivate the problem as they contain chemicals.
Eat a healthy diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget to drink lots of water.
Do not pick or squeeze the spots.
Get checked out for Allergies by a Kinesiologist.