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A person is likely to develop Acne than any other skin issue in their lifetime.
Acne is not infectious.
It is not scientifically proven that certain foods aggravate Acne, but if you feel that certain foods make your Acne worse (oily foods, chocolate or other types of food), it’s better to exercise caution.
Acne causes psychological stress and can lead to severe stress at times, which can often be debilitating. Specific questionnaires have been created for this purpose alone, since the psychological aspect of Acne is often severe and misunderstood.
‘Blackheads’ are not dirt, but actually melanin (skin pigment) that has been oxidized by the oxygen in the air, leading to these brown to black bumps. At this stage there is no inflammation. Do not ‘pick ‘ or ‘squeeze’ these bumps, since this will worsen the problem.
Acne is not curable, but usually follows a natural pattern of remission and with proper treatment and skin care, the frequency, severity and degree of scarring can be minimized.
Acne is a problem of the teens, but there is also a type of acne that is known as ‘Infantile Acne’ and can be seen in infants. Another type of Acne is known as’ Adult Acne’, it can be very difficult to manage and usually has an underlying cause. There might be a strong genetic component to Adult Acne, or Acne that progresses beyond the teen years. Consult with your dermatologist for evaluation.
The oil secreted by the oil glands of the skin has a very important function. Oil helps in maintaining the moisture balance of your skin, prevents fungal and bacterial infections and plays a crucial role in keeping your skin supple. Therefore, do not over wash your skin since these essential oils will be stripped and cause further problems like excessive drying of the skin. Cleanse, tone and balance your skin using special formulations that will help reduce Acne. These days pure natural botanical preparations are available, and although not a lot of research has been done in this area, it has been known for centuries that certain naturally occurring compounds like Tea Tree, Acai Berry Extract, Turmeric, Green Tea and Fever Few to name a few, have all shown benefit. Much more research and studies need to be conducted to see the efficacy of these compounds in the long term management of Acne.
How does Acne begin? It is complex. Increased oil production + increased proliferation of the oil gland ductal cells + increased numbers of Acne Bacteria (mainly P. Acnes) + Inflammation = Acne Lesions.
Natural light plays a positive role in clearing up Acne. Although using artificial sources of UV radiation have not shown significant improvement.
Acne does not have a specific presentation but rather presents itself at various stages of evolution of varying severity. It can range from mild non-inflamed bumps (blackheads or whiteheads- comedones) to more serious inflamed moderate to severe deeper nodules that can form cysts and eventually leave scars that are very difficult to treat.
Please do not ignore it, and seek medical help, since the end result of Acne is scarring, which causes deformity, social anxiety, and distress.
Do not over-wash or over-cleanse your skin, this will dry your skin and may even worsen the acne due to chemicals in the cleansers that will act as irritants. Be careful about what cosmetics you apply to your skin, since this may lead to ‘Cosmetic Acne’. Only use natural based products that contain minimal additives or products that are labeled ‘non-comedogenic’.
High humidity, stress, sweating, menstrual cycles, certain clothing, certain medications, cosmetics and hormonal imbalance can all effect Acne.
New studies indicate that there might be hope for those people who cannot tolerate conventional medications. Studies indicate that Lasers, Intense Pulsed Light, and Blue-Red (LED) Light may prove helpful in managing Acne.
Some want a more natural option rather than conventional treatment modalities. They can consult with a certified Naturopath or Homeopathic Doctor and take a more holistic path towards managing their Acne.
Try using a multi-prong approach and be open minded, work together with your physician and holistic practitioner to achieve maximum benefit.
Some studies indicate that non-invasive safer treatments like Blue-Red Light ( LED ) devices can help mild-moderate Acne lesions. This is promising for those people who are intolerant to traditional topical or oral medications. Discuss this with an esthetician who is an LED expert, they might be able to help you.
Acne is a self-limiting problem, but one must treat it before it becomes severe and results in permanent scars.
Adult Acne is a more chronic problem, and you should always consult a skin care professional to treat any underlying issue.
The good news is that more studies are constantly being conducted and newer, safer and more natural based treatments will soon emerge that will help you manage Acne effectively and safely.
See what treatments work for you and stick to them. Never forget to follow a good skin care routine at home, since with Acne, constant management is required.
Please do not attempt to self-treat, and consult your skin care professional, a certified esthetician, and a dermatologist for proper guidance and treatment options. Acne responds well to regular proper early management.
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The Skin is the largest, most dynamic, and highly intelligent organ of our body with a multiplicity of functions which are of great importance.
Here are some noteworthy functions of this immunologically active organ. In the words of Anderson and Parrish‘the skin is a complex, dynamic, variable and multidimensional optical medium’.
Temperature Regulation : The skin plays a highly important role in body thermoregulation. Special Thermoreceptor cells (cold and warm), the rich dermal blood supply coupled with complex vascular & neurological pathways allows the skin to constantly maintain inner body temperatures in response to changing environmental conditions. Another way the skin maintains temperature homeostasis is by loss of heat through convection, radiation, conduction and evaporation. In places of high environmental temperatures, the main type of heat loss (to maintain inner body temperature) is via sweating (evaporation). Oil secreted by the skin oil glands (sebaceous) also possess natural anti-bacterial properties. Hence one must avoid using excessively harsh chemical face scrubs, drying face masks, or soaps that will deplete this protective layer of oil.
Protection from Mechanical Injury : The skin to an extent warns us of mechanical injury, by way of pressure receptors in our dermis. This helps in protecting us from potential injury, since mechanical pressure is processed by the skin, and interpreted by our brain as a threat. Therefore the injury can be minimized and prevented in time.
Immunological Functions : This subject is undergoing intense research and is of great importance. Both the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and inner layer (dermis) are involved in immunologically policing our bodies. Complex cellular pathways are involved in immunological host defense tactics. This function acts to prevent harmful antigens (external from the environment) from harming our bodies. Also, something to note is that it also plays a role in various internal autoimmune disorders. This function is of great importance to the clinical, research and therapeutic science community.
Warning System : Many internal diseases externalize themselves onto the skin. This fact is of great significance to all health care professionals and skin care givers. They should be aware of these signs, and if there is any doubt or suspicion, they must investigate further to rule out internal disease.
Sensory Function : The skin is richly and extensively innervated. Reactions to pain, touch (including vibration and pressure), cold, itch, warmth are all actively felt by the skin. This function helps in a myriad of ways. Warming us of potential external harmful stimuli and making us aware of our external environment.
Role in Nutrition : The skin plays an active role in the manufacturing of Vitamin D upon exposure to therapeutic doses of sunlight.
Sociosexual Communication and Individuality : Our fingerprints make us unique. Our appreance, the way we look, smell and feel, adds individuality to our persona. Every culture from thousands of years has used the skin to enhance esthetic appearance, create tribal or racial distinctiveness, by using various techniques like cosmetics, piercing, tattoo’s, and other novel methods.
Psychological aspect : This aspect of skin is often forgotten by skin health professionals, skin care givers and the public. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, are few of the skin problems that cause great stress, anxiety, and depression, not to mention reduced quality of social life. During my research years, I was shown an aspect of skin disease and function that I never knew existed. Patients complained of severe bouts of depression, missing school and work, and extreme levels of anxiety. The deduction from this observation was this:
The skin plays a huge role in our psychological well being, and therefore keeping it healthy is vital for completing the cycle of health.
This is a summary of the importantance of skin and its functions. Knowing this, and keeping in mind all the ways in which the skin helps us survive the environment, life and keep us immunolgically alert, doesn’t it become our duty to care for this amazing organ? Not only keeping it healthy and radiant externally, but healthy from within? My advice to everyone is, never neglect this complex organ that protects us constantly. One should never take skin health for granted.
On an ending note, ‘Skin Failure’ can happen. Although uncommonly heard of, it is one of the medical emergencies and like any other organ of our body, the skin can also stop functioning due to many factors.
So, take care of your skin. Stay healthy, think positive, and remember that a healthy lifestyle, a good skin care routine will give you an inner and outer glow and do wonders for your self confidence as well!
This article is meant to promote public awareness on skin health.
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