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Acne is the most common skin condition in the world today. The vast majority of us suffer from acne at one time or another. For most of us, our acne years take place during adolescence, however others can experience it in adulthood.
Acne in women is more common than men. However, no matter what your age or gender, acne can cause serious self esteem and body confidence problems. This, unfortunately, doesn’t end once the acne has subsided for some people , as acne scars can last a lifetime.
This is why treating your acne as effectively as possible is the best thing you can do. In order to do that, you must first understand exactly what acne is and how it works.
Acne vulgaris is caused by the overproduction of sebum in the skin. Sebum is a natural oil produced by the sebaceous gland. When the right amount of this oil is produced, it plays an important role in keeping the skin soft and supple. However, when too much sebum is produced problems arise.
The excess oil gathers in pores and hair follicles. This attracts dirt and dead skin cells, which clog the pore. The clogged pore then becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. When the immune system realises this, it responds rapidly.
This response results in inflammation of the skin, and the development of pus filled spots. Touching the area leads to the spread of this bacteria to other areas of the face and soon, acne is spread.
While researchers aren’t exactly sure why the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, they have some theories regarding factors which could contribute to it. They include:
Acne medications are a very common treatment option for those suffering with this skin condition. In particular, oral contraceptives and antibiotics are used to try and treat it. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Oral contraceptives have been used to treat mild to severe acne for a number of years. These contraceptives work by restoring balance to hormone levels in the body. Studies show that there is a strong link between hormone levels and the production of sebum.
The advantage of using this method of treatment is that it appears to work well on most patients. While it won’t eradicate acne completely, it does significantly reduce it.
The disadvantage is the most oral contraceptives have to be taken at the exact same time every day, which can be inconvenient and difficult to remember, especially for teenagers.
Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat a severe acne breakout. The antibiotic works by tackling the bacterial infection in the skin.
The advantage of using antibiotics is that they can have fast acting effects. They usually just take a day or two to significantly reduce the breakout in question.
The disadvantage of using antibiotics to treat acne is that they can’t be used long term. The more often a person takes antibiotics, the more likely they are to develop an immunity to them. Not only does this mean that will be less effective on the acne, it also means that if the patient becomes ill with something like a chest infection, antibiotics may not work as they should.
Home remedies are becoming more popular by the day in the United States and further afield. It appears that increasing numbers of people are turning to natural herbal medicines to treat a whole host of illness, injuries and medical conditions.
This could be because people are focusing on the “clean living” lifestyle which espouses minimum exposure to chemicals. It could also be that folks are trying to be a little more thrifty and make use of readily available, affordable ingredients instead of constantly turning to expensive medicines and medical care.
Regardless of the reason why, a number of home remedies have become extremely popular home treatments for acne in particular. Here are the two most popular examples:
CBD oil is an oil which is extracted from the cannabis plant. It doesn’t cause the “high” associated with cannabis, but contains some clinically proven medicinal qualities.
Not only does its antibacterial properties make it effective at fighting acne bacteria which are found in acne prone skin, its anti-inflammatory properties also make it highly effective at reducing the immune response and the painful, red skin that it causes.
Tea tree oil is one of the best known essential oils. This oil has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of skin conditions including acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. These qualities make it an incredible weapon against any skin condition. It should be mixed with a carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil before being applied to the skin to avoid irritation.
The advantages of opting for a home remedy such as this include the fact that they are more gentle on the skin. Chemical ingredients such as salicylic acid can have side effects, including being very drying on the skin. These can sometimes cause new problems of their own. Whereas CBD and tea tree oil are much more gentle.
The disadvantage of using them is that there really isn’t a whole lot of scientific evidence that they work. While there are certainly studies which conclusively prove that they should work, very little investigation has been conducted into whether they really do.
Whether you decide to treat your acne with oral medication or a home remedy is, of course, up to you. Arguments can be made in favor of both options, and it really boils down to individual preference for each person.
If you’ve tried every possible treatment and your acne persists, it may be time to make an appointment with your family doctor. He or she can discuss your options with you and help you move forward.