What Is Acne?
Acne is a disease that affects the skin's oil
glands. The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to oil glands under the
skin. These glands make an oily substance called sebum. The pores connect to the
glands by a canal called a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin
cells to the surface of the skin. A thin hair also grows through the follicle
and out to the skin. When the follicle of a skin gland clogs up, a pimple grows.
Most pimples are found on the face, neck, back,
chest, and shoulders. Acne is not a serious health threat but, it can cause
How Does Acne Develop?
Sometimes, the hair, sebum, and skin cells clump
together into a plug. The bacteria in the plug causes swelling. Then when the
plug starts to break down, a pimple grows.
There are many types of pimples. The most common
- Whiteheads. These are pimples that stay under
the surface of the skin.
- Blackheads. These pimples rise to the skin's
surface and look black. The black color is not from dirt.
- Papules. These are small pink bumps that can
- Pustules. These pimples are red at the bottom
and have pus on top.
- Nodules. These are large, painful, solid
pimples that are deep in the skin.
- Cysts. These deep, painful, pus-filled pimples
can cause scars.
Who Gets Acne?
Acne is the most common skin disease. Nearly 17
million people in the United States have it. People of all races and ages get
acne. But it is most common in teenagers and young adults. Nearly 85 percent of
people between the ages of 12 and 24 get acne. For most people, acne goes away
by age 30. But some people in their forties and fifties still get acne.
What Causes Acne?
The cause of acne is unknown. Doctors think
certain factors might cause it:
- The hormone increase in teenage years (this
can cause the oil glands to plug up more often)
- Hormone changes during pregnancy
- Starting or stopping birth control pills
- Heredity (if your parents had acne, you might
get it, too)
- Some types of medicine
- Greasy makeup.
How Is Acne Treated?
Acne is treated by doctors who work with skin
problems (dermatologists). Treatment tries to:
- Heal pimples
- Stop new pimples from forming
- Prevent scarring
- Help reduce the embarrassment of having acne.
Early treatment is the best way to prevent scars.
Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drugs. Some acne
medicines are put right on the skin. Other medicines are pills that you swallow.
The doctor may tell you to use more than one medicine.
How Should People With Acne
Care for Their Skin?
Here are some ways to care for skin if you have
- Clean skin gently. Use a mild cleanser in the
morning, evening, and after heavy workouts. Scrubbing the skin does not stop
acne. It can even make the problem worse.
- Try not to touch your skin. People who
squeeze, pinch, or pick their pimples can get scars or dark spots on their
- Shave carefully. If you shave, you can try
both electric and safety razors. With safety razors, use a sharp blade. Also,
it helps to soften your beard with soap and water before putting on shaving
cream. Shave lightly and only when you have to.
- Stay out of the sun. Many acne drugs can make
people more likely to sunburn. Being in the sun a lot can also make skin
wrinkle and raise the risk of skin cancer.
- Choose makeup carefully. All makeup should be
oil free. Look for the word "noncomedogenic" on the label. This means that the
makeup will not clog up your pores. But some people still get acne even if
they use these products.
What Things Can Make Acne
Some things can make acne worse:
- Changing hormone levels in teenage girls and
adult women 2 to 7 days before their period starts
- Leaning on or rubbing the skin
- Pressure from bike helmets, backpacks, or
- Pollution and high humidity
- Squeezing or picking at pimples
- Hard scrubbing of the skin.
What Are Some Myths About the
Causes of Acne?
There are many myths about what causes acne.
Dirty skin and stress do not cause acne. Also, chocolate and greasy foods do not
cause acne in most people.
What Research Is Being Done on
Scientists are looking at new ways to treat acne.
- Working on new drugs to treat acne
- Looking at ways to prevent plugs
- Looking at ways to stop the hormone
testosterone from causing acne.
National Institutes of Health
Nutritional and Herbal Therapy for Acne
following Chinese herbal patent formulas can help treat acne:
Zhen Zhu An Chuang Wan
(a variation of Margarite Acne Pills)
Chuan Shan Jia Qu Shi Qing Du Wan.
||Skin blemishes or pimples
characterize this condition. It can occur at any point throughout the
lifetime and is related to a hormonal imbalance. In Chinese terminology, the
lungs control the skin, and acne is commonly a condition of ‘heat’ in the
lungs. Thus, the Chinese approach to this condition is to cool the heat,
cleanse the lungs, and also work externally on the healing process.
||squash, cucumbers, watermelon,
winter melon, celery, carrots, cabbage, beet tops, dandelions, aloe vera,
mulberry leaves and plenty of fresh fruits
||· Blend a cucumber, apply
externally; leave on for twenty minutes then wash off.
· Apply plain, low fat organic yogurt; leave on for twenty minutes then wash
· Rub watermelon rind on the acne.
· Apply aloe vera.
· Eat watermelon or drink watermelon juice.
· Drink dandelion and beet top tea.
· Drink lukewarm water with two teaspoons of honey every morning on an empty
stomach. This effectively lubricates the intestines. If one does not
evacuate the intestines regularly, the toxins either end up in the liver or
coming out on the skin.
||fried foods, fatty foods, spicy
foods, oily foods, coffee, alcohol, sugar, smoking, stress, constipation,
makeup, washing with chemicals or soap. Rather, wash with cool water. If the
face is dirty, steam it with hot water to induce sweating; then wash with
Dr. Maoshing Ni and Cathy McNease from the
Tao of Nutrition