By Cindy Sult, RN |
Acne is a genetic disease that shows no discrimination to age, race, creed or color. What was once thought of as a teenage problem is now understood to effect all ages, from the very young to the senior population, and all ages in between. The person inflicted with acne, through a genetic accident has a defect in the structure and working of the skin that makes the pores work differently than their “clear skinned friends.” So now we know that while some “teens” are able to finally grow out of the “acne phase,” others are in a constant battle with this disease at various times throughout their life.
What is acne, what causes it and how can we cure it, you ask? It’s not that simple of an answer. We know that acne is a genetic disease just like diabetes; neither can be cured. You can control diabetes by diet, medications, lifestyle and insulin, but you can’t cure it. While you won’t die from acne, and it’s not as serious a disease as diabetes, the comparison is important and your life can be severely scarred and impaired by it. Like diabetes, we can control acne but we can’t cure it.
Acne is caused by a fancy name called Retention Hyperkeratosis. In short, this is a follicle or pore that isn’t able to shed off its upper layers of skin cells like normal pours are able to do. These pores or follicles become clogged then impacted and the natural bacteria in the follicles go crazy in the non-oxygenated environment. This creates havoc under the skin, the pores become inflamed, they turn into pimples, pustules, nodules and cysts which can result in lifelong scars.
Acne is affected by as many as 13 factors, especially for those predisposed to having acne:
• pressure and friction
• industrial oils and chemicals
• menstrual cycles and hormonal changes
• birth control pills
The number one aggravating factor is definitely stress. The fight or flight reaction causes a hormonal surge of testosterone to be released which is a big stimulator of acne. This explains why the level of acne is much more constant for men and why it fluctuates widely with women.
Controlling acne is a process. First we must be aware of the effects that the different factors have on your acne and understand your type of acne. Second you must discover the proper treatment. We know that there are three key active ingredients needed to control acne. They are vitamin A, alpha-hydroxy acids, and benzoyl peroxide. Laser treatments can also help with bad breakouts. Third, you must have determination. Once you start, you will need to continue. Finding a good acne therapist or acne buddy, as you would in dieting, is very helpful and can help you in learning to keep your acne at bay.
1. Acne Rx, “What acne really is and how to eliminate its devastating effects,” by James E. Fulton Jr. MD, PhD
For more info, contact Cindy Sult, RN from Nouveaux Aesthetics, at (775) 622-8505.