Acne: An Information Page
Acne is also called acne vulgaris, a chronic skin disease which affects the majority of adolescents.
For many acne begins around puberty and peaks in the late teens, disappearing by the early twenties. A very small percentage even find the condition persists to the age of 40.
Acne is an eruption of the skin, predominantly on the face. The back and chest are also commonly affected.
The eruption consists of little black spots, hard pimples, and little pustules surrounded by an inflamed red area which grows, bursts and then heals.
As hormone activity increases during puberty, the sebaceous glands produce more sebum which then gets blocked from reaching the surface of the skin due to blockage of the ducts.
This accumulation of sebum can gradually become infected with skin micro-organisms. These skin infections lead to small lumps on the skin - acne.
The condition can be made worse through sweating such as in sports, or in a hot, unventilated workplace.
Some medical practitioners suggest natural sunlight can have a beneficial effect on acne. Even artificial sunlight during the winter months can be beneficial and some hospitals offer this treatment.
Daily washing of the affected areas is essential.
There are a number of washing solutions and creams available which help with controlling and minimizing the effect of acne.
Benzoyl Peroxide and Acne
Mild cases of acne respond well to this lotion over a period of about three weeks.
After washing the face with soap and water, dab on the Benzoyl Peroxide. Leave it on the skin for two to three hours. Later, increase the frequency to twice a day and leave it on overnight.
If the skin is very sensitive, leave it on for only 15 - 30 minutes.
Eight to sixteen weeks are needed before the acne vanishes.
To squeeze or not to squeeze?
Some physicians discourage squeezing the pimples with the fingers believing this can make the condition worse.
On the other hand, James E. Fulton, M.D., Ph.D., believes squeezing pimples can speed healing and reduce scarring.
However, it must be done the right way.
A few days after you notice a yellowish center appearing, wash with a simple soap and water.
Expose the skin to steam by holding it over hot water for five minutes.
Then, with properly trimmed fingernails, wash the hands thoroughly, wrap tissues round the fingertips and try and pop the blackhead. If it doesn't work after one or two tries, don't force it, leave it.
James E. Fulton is the director of the Acne Research Institute in Newport Beach, California. He has written an excellent book for anyone concerned about understanding and getting rid of acne: "Acne RX"
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