A Teenage Misery

zitA disease or a stage in life development?

Most teenagers have some acne for a few years off and on. However, adults in their 20's, even into their 40's or older, can get occasional acne. While not a life threatening condition, acne heals quickly in most people.

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition whereby the tiny pores through which the hairs emerge from the skin become blocked and infected causing the characteristic "black heads" and "white heads". It is through these pores that the skin normally breathes and eliminates waste products from the body as an oil excreted by the sebaceous gland.

Physiologically male hormones found in both males and females rise during adolescence (puberty) and stimulate and enlarge the oil (sebaceous) glands of the skin. These glands are found in areas where acne is common (the face, upper back, and chest). Severe acne can be due to a hormonal imbalance and may need medical treatment.

The oil glands are connected to a hair-containing canal called a follicle. The sebaceous glands make an oily substance called sebum which reaches the skin surface by emptying through the skin surface opening of the follicle. The hair follicle opening is sometimes called the pore. The oil (sebum) causes the cells from the follicular lining to shed more rapidly and stick together, forming a plug at the follicle opening. Common bacteria (normally found on our skin) grow in the mixture of oil and cells in the follicle. These bacteria make chemicals that stimulate inflammation and cause the wall of the follicle to break. The sebum, bacteria, and shed skin cells spill into the skin causing redness, swelling, and pus to form a pimple or zit.

Acne eventually, does get better without much treatment. There is no way of predicting how long this can take, but usually within 10-20 days per infection. In severe cases, acne can cause permanent scarring if left untreated.

Skin Care Tip
Wash the face with warm water until clean and then rinse with cold water.
Fresh cold water tones the facial muscles and skin, and is refreshing.


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