It glows, it radiates, and even regenerates–it’s your skin. When skin is blemished, dull, dry, or flaky, it can affect your confidence, cause depression, and lead to social anxiety. It’s no surprise that blemished skin is common among teenagers, but what may come as a surprise is that adult acne affects 25% of men and 50% of women.
What causes acne?
1. Overproduction of oil glands:
Our androgen hormones stimulate the oil glands that produce oil. When we are stressed, adrenal glands produce even more of these hormones, causing a greater enlargement of the oil glands. During puberty, a change in hormone levels cause the oil glands to become overactive causing oily skin.
2. Blockage of the skin pores:
Acne develops when some of the pores become blocked by skin cells that have been shed from the lining of the skin pore and have accumulated together. This results in trapped oil, that doesn’t reach the skin’s surface.
3. Growth of bacteria:
It is important to know that acne is not caused by a bacterial infection. However, bacteria do play a role in worsening the situation. The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, also known as P. acne, is a normal part of the skin surface. It keeps the skin from being invaded by harmful bacteria, but cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.
When oil is trapped, the normal skin bacteria will continue to grow within the blocked pore. The trapped bacteria produces chemicals which alter the composition of the oil resulting in irritated and inflamed skin.
The body’s immune system kicks into gear to rid itself of foreign substances. In the case of acne, this is either bacteria or the irritating compounds they have produced. Inflammation is a result of the immune system’s naturally occurring response and can be characterized by redness, swelling, warmth, and discomfort.
Acne Care and Treatment
To prevent acne scars, do not pop, squeeze, or pick at acne. Seek treatment early for acne that does not respond to over-the-counter products.
Wash the skin gently with a mild cleanser in the morning, evening, and after exercise. Rinse the skin thoroughly after washing. Vigorous washing and scrubbing can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
If you are a man who shaves, you should avoid nicking acne by softening your beard with soap and warm water before shaving. You may also try a safety razor or electric razor to decide which is most comfortable. A sharp blade and as little shaving as possible is also recommended.
Using a moist, warm compress on the skin may help open blocked pores.
Some astringents work well for reducing inflammation. Avoid alcohol-based astringents, which strip your skin of natural moisture.
What is acne?
A condition that consists of pimples, deeper lumps (cysts or nodules), and plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and even the upper arms.
Does stress cause acne?
Stress can be partially responsible for acne. Hormonal changes are associated with stress and hormones stimulate the oil glands. People who are anxious may also change their behavior towards their appearance, leading to inappropriate treatment of acne that can worsen the condition.
Consult your family physician on methods to reduce stress. These may include:
- Recreational breaks
- Good sleeping habits
- Social support network
- Reduced consumption of stimulates (such as caffeine)
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 million to 50 million Americans.
Nearly 85 percent of all people have acne at some point in their lives, most often on the face, chest, and back.
By mid-teens, more than 40 percent of adolescents have acne or acne scarring, which requires treatment by a dermatologist.
In 2004, the cost associated with the treatment of acne exceeded $2.2 billion, including costs for prescription and over-the-counter products.
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This article was originally featured in dōTERRA’s 2011 Winter Living Magazine. Click here to view more.
*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. dōTERRA products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Pregnant or lactating women and persons with known medical conditions should consult a physician prior to the use of any dōTERRA product.