Acne – Causes, symptoms, treatment and recommended diet

What is Acne (pimples) ?

Acne Vulgaris, also called Rosacea, is the increase in size and infection of the skin’s sebaceous glands. These glands produces an oily substance called sebum which helps protect the skin. When the follicles of these glands are obstructed, the sebum (oily substance) accumulates within the glands, and eventually cause it to swell. Due to the sebum’s inability to flow properly, the glands become inflamed and infected as well. Thus, producing pustular eruptions on the skin which indicates acne.

Acne is mostly common in adolescent, it is said to affect about 90% of adolescents. It mostly appears on the face, but can also appear on the back and chest. Even though acne isn’t life threatening, it can lead to serious and permanent scarring.

What are the symptoms of acne (pimples) ?
The symptoms of acne include:

• Appearance of black heads (black spots) which are superficial and hardly leave scars.

• Appearance of white heads

• Appearance of deep pustules and crysts. This kind of deep acne is red and inflammed, and very painful to touch. It usually appears on the back or chest. Being the most difficult type of acne to treat, it usually leaves scars.

What are the causes of Acne (pimples) ?
Below are some of the causes of acne.

Genetics – Acne is said to be heritable i.e can be passed from parents to offspring. So if one of your parents or both have acne it is more likely you will develop it.

Hormones – Presence of hormones, particularly androgens responsible for masculinization can cause an increase in the number of acne you get. These hormones triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, and are more activr during puberty.
More sebum means more acne.

Skin irritants – Skin irritants such as certain cosmetics, exposure to high temperatures, and so on, can cause the development of acne.

Diet– Diet is also one of the major causes of acne. A diet poor in fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and rich in refined products, animal fats etc, can cause acne. In general, diet based on hamburgers, ice-cream, and others in the category cause or exacerbates acne.

Emotional stress – This is said to exacerbate acne.

How is acne (pimples) treated ?
• The following gels are applied on the skin:
» Resorcinol – This helps breakdown the blackheads and whiteheads that indicates acnes.
» Benzoul peroxide – This helps in killing bacteria and slows down sebum production.

• Oral antibiotics – These are prescribed for patients with very severe or moderate acne.
All the above should be prescribed or gotten under the supervision of a qualified health personel.

Some tips for acne (pimples) patients

» Try out soaps made for people with acne.

» Don’t try to burst the pimples, it may get the infection further inside, and cause more blocking and swelling, and inturn more pimples.

» Avoid diet based solely on refined products, animal fats, and so on.

» Avoid exposing the skin to irritants such as certain cosmetics, high temperature, etc.

What makes acne (pimples) worst ?
» Menstrual cycle – This is said to be probably due to hormonal changes that occur during menstrual cycle.

» Hot and humid weather – Hot and humid weather makes us to sweat more. This can make acne more worse.

Recommended diet for acne (pimples)
The consumption of the following is highly recommended for acne patients:

» Vegetables
» Fruits
» Whole grains
» Vitamin E rich foods
» Soy

For acne (pimples) patients reduce or completely eliminate the intake of the following foods as they initiate or exercabates acne:

» Refined baked products
» Sugars
» Chocolate
» Milk
» Saturated fats

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