Acne – Puberty’s Bumpy Road

The things people have tried when it comes to treating acne: lemons, rubbing alcohol and even facial scrubs with baking soda. It’s a good thing that modern medicine and cosmetics have less painful treatments with better results.

Acne occurs when oil and dead skin plug the hair follicles in the pores. It usually starts between the ages of 12 and 24. Though mostly associated with puberty and the teenage years, it can also make its appearance in adults, especially in women going through hormonal changes, be it starting or stopping birth control pills, menstruating or pregnancy.

There are quite a few reasons behind acne.

-Genetics: If either or both of your parents had acne, chances are, so will you.

– Hormones: As mentioned above, hormones increase the oil production in the skin, which then clogs pores and causes pimples and blackheads.

– Stress: Though this factor is debated, it is believed that it might worsen any pre-existing skin condition. Students note that they will get a mayor outbreak before and exam. And more common, the dreaded outbreak before prom or a big date!

– Diet: It is a common theory that greasy foods and chocolate cause acne, but has not been proven. Some doctors believe though that food allergies are to blame for outbreaks.

– Frequent washing of the face aggravates the skin, causing the condition to worsen.

– Using inadequate skin products that are too oily or perfumed will clog the ducts even more.

– Certain medications can trigger outbreaks.

Though acne itself is not a dangerous medical condition, it can cause severe scarring if left untreated and seriously affect the self-esteem, self-image and the social skills of the affected person.

It seems that every week a new treatment for acne is on the market, most of them making very unrealistic promises. Be hesitant about treatments that promise a quick fix, since acne itself is a condition that is not curable. What you can do though is keep it under control and avoid scarring.

If the acne is mild to moderate, one can first try treating it with essential oils: Tea Tree Oil, Bergamot Oil, Clove Oil, Lavender Oil and Rosewood Oil are some. Make sure to read the instructions to see if the oil needs to be diluted. If so, Grapeseed Oil seems to be having the best results.

Before you apply a cleanser or exfoliate (which is not recommended during an outbreak), “steam” your face by bending over a sink with hot water and putting a towel over your head or cleanse your face right after a hot shower. The steam opens the pores and lets you clean more thorough.

If the oils don’t help, the next step would be to purchase an over the counter cleanser. To avoid new outbreaks, the areas prone to these should be washed twice a day these. If you wash too often or use too strong products, you take away all natural oils in your skin. Cleansers appropriate for washing can be found in your drugstore, for example Oxy or Clearasil. One product that seems to be having good results is ProActive. These contain an antibacterial ingredient called benzoyl peroxide. Due to this drying ingredient, the skin, especially in the beginning of use, might suffer some redness and/or peeling, but it should gradually decrease.

Don’t forget, there is no such a thing as a magic pill for acne, results will be seen after some time only. If not, you need to talk to your doctor, who might give you a prescription for a preparation that you apply on your skin or tablets that you can take.