=?UTF-8?Q?Hormones_+_Hygiene_=_Acne=3F_Demystifying_the_myth=E2=80=A6=E2=80=A6?= - The Virginian-Pilot

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 21 September 2011 | 8:45 AM

Most of us thank God when our teenage years are behind us, especially if you've ever suffered from "acne". Now that you're over that part of your past, you assume that your "Zit" days are long gone, right? After all, wasn't acne just an extension of raging hormones mixed with a dash of poor hygiene?  Not quite. It's always possible to "break-out" (i.e. skin irritation/rash) from not practicing good hygiene, but "acne" as a whole occurs through a process. For some of us, we can wash our face until Jesus comes again and it won't make any difference to our acne. In fact, it often just irritates our skin more versus helping rid us of our blemishes. So what about those hormones that kicked in during adolescence, weren't they an underlying cause of your sudden discomfort? Hormones influence the process but are not totally to blame. Here's why.

The root cause of acne in adolescence: The "Pilosebaceous Unit" consists of the hair shaft, the hair follicle, the sebaceous gland which makes sebum, and the erector pili muscle which causes the hair to stand up when it contracts. (http://dermatology.about.com/cs/hairanatomy/g/piloseb.htm).   Found throughout the body, except on the bottom/top of our feet, our palms, and lower lip, our body's sebaceous glands produce sebum to help keep our follicles moist.  During adolescence this gland increases in size, producing more sebum under the influence of our hormones (aka androgens – male hormones), resulting in "acne".  Typically, after age 20 our sebum production begins to decline. 
"Propionibacterium acnes" (PA) is a naturally occurring bacteria inhabiting our skin, using sebum as a nutrient for its growth while naturally increasing during puberty in our hair follicles. If you have excessive "PA" then you will have more acne. The chain of events occurs in a cycle: Our "PA: bacteria attracts white blood cells, which in turn produce a wall follicle damaging enzyme allowing its contents to enter our "dermis" (the second of three major layers of our skin). The effects produce an inflammation (red bumps), forming free fatty acids increasing more inflammation at the follicle. (Reference:  http://www.acne.org/). 
How is adult acne different from adolescent acne? Adult acne can arise again later on in life for entirely different reasons than adolescent acne. Adult acne can be a combination of nutrition, drugs and lifestyle. Zinc and essential fatty acids like Linoleic acids can decrease with age and poor nutrition, causing adult acne later in life. It's important to not treat adult acne the same as adolescent acne (which could dry out your skin). See http://www.acnetohealth.com/what-causes-adult-acne.html to learn more about adult acne.
What irritates acne? We all think "junk food" and poor hygiene are major contributors to acne, but think again. With the exception of an allergic reaction to certain food products, leaving the appearance of an acne-like reaction on our skin, food has not been able to be completely verified as a culprit behind our outbreaks. Pressure (facial masks, head gear, etc), drugs (steroids, prednisone, lithium), occupation (exposure to certain oils), and skin care products (clogging our pours/may play part in irritating the skin elevating our acne-reaction) each can contribute to irritating our acne. To learn more visit http://www.medicinenet.com/acne/article.htm.

When to see a doctor: If over the counter medication isn't working, then see a dermatologist for further treatment. Keep a record of when your acne breakout started occurring, especially if you are an older adult and/or not a typical sufferer of acne. Something you may be consuming or exposing yourself to may very well be at the root of your acne.

Is illness related to acne? Known as a "secondary" development/response, anxiety, depression and phobias/psychological are the major disorders that can cause an aftermath effect on our emotions as a result of acne. Due to the pressure put upon us in our social circle, acne can create a "stigma" in our mind about our appearance. Unfortunately, Western culture places a great deal of value on our exterior versus our interior person, in turn causing anxiety to become an issue as a result of how we feel about ourselves. Anytime we suffer from anxiety our hormones can be thrown off balance, however, psychological responses have not been proven to cause acne – they only make us feel more overwhelmed. (Reference:  http://dermatology.cdlib.org/93/commentary/acne/hanna.html).

How do I "visually" get rid of my "zit"? Picking, popping and trying to extract an affected pore is not only unhealthy it can leave a scar and prolong our healing. More effective treatment may need to come through sound medical intervention (preferably a Dermatologist or initially through less invasive over the counter medication).

Quick Tips for Wellness:  Pay attention to your acne and seek medical treatment when over the counter products don't work.

Quick Tips for Wellness, Pat Ferguson, Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved

21 Sep, 2011

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNGCSJcEjvhsOQCWmdfUAeexOPQs6A&url=http://hamptonroads.com/2011/09/hormones-hygiene-acne-demystifying-myth%25E2%2580%25A6%25E2%2580%25A6
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