WHAT IS ACNE?
Acne is a very common skin condition. Acne is the general term for plugged and infected pores (blackheads and white heads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules). They commonly occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms.
For reasons no one completely understands, follicles, often called pores, overproduce cells and sometimes get blocked. Sebum (oil) which normally drains to the surface gets blocked and bacteria begins to grow. Both whiteheads and blackheads start out as a microcomedone.
There are 2 types of acne: 1.) Non inflammatory Acne and 2.) Inflammatory Acne.
Microcomedones become non-inflamed skin blemishes called comedones--either a whitehead or a blackhead.
NON INFLAMMATORY ACNE:
When the trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin surface, a whitehead is formed. Whiteheads may show up as tiny white spots, or they may be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.
A blackhead occurs when the pore opens to the surface, and the sebum, which contains the skin pigment melanin, oxidizes and turns a brown/black color. It is not dirt and can not be washed away. Blackheads can last for a long time because the contents very slowly drain to the surface.
A blackhead or whitehead can release its contents to the surface and heal. Or, the follicle wall can rupture and inflammatory acne can ensue (see below). This rupture can be caused by random occurrence or by picking or touching the skin. This is why it is important to leave acne prone skin relatively untouched.
A papule occurs when there is a break in the follicular wall. White blood cells rush in and the pore becomes inflamed.
When a follicle breaks along the bottom, total collapse can occur, causing a large, inflamed bump that can be sore to the touch.
Sometimes a severe inflammatory reaction can result in very large pus filled lesions.
Milia are tiny white bumps that occur when normally sloughed skin cells get
trapped in small pockets on the surface of the skin. Milia is common in
newborns across the nose and upper cheeks and can also be seen on adult skin.
The bumps disappear as the surface is worn away and the dead skin is
sloughed. In newborns, the bumps usually disappear within the first few weeks of
life. However, for adults milia may persist indefinitely.
ACNE IN TEENAGERS: Precautions And Homeopathic Help
Acne is very common in adolescents and can persist well
into adulthood. Although acne is comparatively a less serious and life
threatening condition, it could cause serious scarring, and permanent marks. It
can also result in a lot of stress, embarrassment and discomfort for our
teenage kids. Commonly occuring condition in teenagers is Acne Vulgaris.
HOW IS ACNE FORMED?
It generally occurs in teenagers and early adulthood. People of all races and ages get acne. It is most
common in adolescents and young adults. An estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point.
The sebaceous glands found underneath the skin make an oily
substance called sebum that normally empties onto the skin surface through the opening of the follicle, commonly called a pore. The sebum carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. A thin hair also grows through the follicle and out to the skin. Drastic hormonal changes or imbalance in the body (caused due to various factors like unhealthy diet, stress, hereditary factors etc) during the adolescent years can stimulate the sebaceous glands sometimes resulting in over production or mal function. When this follicle clogs up, acne is the result.
SYMPTOMS OF ACNE:
Acne usually occur on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders, arms etc. and can
be easily recognized via the white appearance in white heads, and blocked black
tip in blackheads.
Papules are inflamed, red, tender bumps with no head.
Nodular acne spots are much larger and hard and quite painful with common scarring.
Cysts are similar to nodule but with pus, painful and easily scarred.
OTHER CAUSES FOR ACNE:
It is said that oily, fatty foods, too much chocolate etc can make acne worse and exams, new relationships and other forms of stress, the time just before a period (menstrual cycle) starts, certain cosmetics and medicines etc can trigger acne.
It is important to understand that these factors by themselves do not cause acne however, they might impact on the normal activities of the body, interrupting the system, causing acne and several other diseases as symptoms.
Benzoyl peroxide, Resorcinol, Salicylic acid, Sulfur, Antibiotics and cortisones are commonly used in treatments, however can have some side effects. They certainly have lesser impact in the longer term.
Homeopathy offers a safe and side effect free alternative approach to acne problems. It is very effective in controlling the acute symptoms, and also acts on the primary causation level, that is the deep-seated hormonal imbalance or mal function of the system to provide sure-fire cure.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP THEIR CHILD SUFFERING WITH ACNE?
The acne should not be squeezed, pinched or picked as it may lead to formation of scars or dark blotches. Parents should ensure that their children do not expose themselves to suntans, chemical laden cosmetics, and to cortisones and creams for quick fix. Oily, fatty foods are to be avoided completely. Fresh fruits and veggies in plenty, sufficient exercise, gentle cleansing of skin with very mild soap twice a day; lots of
cucumber and watery fruits, 8 – 10 glasses of water each day, are a must.
Homeopathic remedies and other herbal supplements ensure quick recovery.