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Acne is a skin ailment affecting scores of teenagers and even young adults. Acne causes severe breakouts on the skin, shoulders and back, typically in adolescents and young adults. This can cause intense humiliation, especially given the age bracket affected. Serious self-esteem issues are often a long term effect. However, acne affects so many people in the US today that it is not at all unusual and in fact, most teenagers will experience it at some point.
However, this condition isn’t just limited to teenagers. Learn about how you can treat your baby’s acne here.
Acne is related to hair follicles and the underlying sebaceous glands. These glands sometimes get blocked due to overproduction of sebum results in excess oil along with dead skin cells. It leads to colonization of Proionobacterium acne, a variant of bacteria which ultimately leads to acne. Treating acne at the onset of first set of eruptions can help prevent scarring at the later stage which incidentally also brings in a bouquet and psychiatric and psychological problems.
Common types of acne include cystic acne, inflammatory acne and adult acne. However. doctors typically grade acne as mild, moderate, severe and extremely severe. Depending on the condition of the concerned person, a treatment plan is initiated. While mild and moderate acne can be cured through series of topical applications such as medicated soaps, lotions and oral antibiotic and even oral contraceptives, severe acne is resolved through isotretinoin. This offers immense relief and more often than not leads to permanent remission.
As mentioned above, topical agents are the mainstay for sporadic acne. However, in case the patient is allergic to antibiotic or in case the individual has formed resistance, then a series of combination therapies are initiated. Moreover, proper education, healthy diet and hygiene can lead to quick recovery.
Although it has been established via clinical trials that over production of sebum or hyperactive sebaceous gland is the main culprit there are other reasons for acne development. Some of them are mentioned below.
Although the link between unhealthy food and acne has never been concretely established, some recent studies have shown that foods containing high level of sugar do in fact aggravate acne. It has also been suggested that high intake of chocolates, dairy products and salt increase the severity of established acne. All these suggestions are subject to debate. Moreover, the link between obesity and acne has also been suggested although again, it’s largely unproven.
Studies in the past and present have proved that individuals are more prone acne if their close relatives also suffered from the skin condition. There are varieties of genes, which have been attributed to acne, such as polymorphisms in IL-1a, TNF-a, and CYP1A1 amongst others.
Hormonal imbalance or changes that typically occur during puberty and the menstrual cycles enhance the eruption of acne vulgaris. The corresponding increase in the sex hormones, especially during puberty or pregnancy, triggers over production of sebum. Some of the hormones which have a definite impact on the eruption of acne include testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and dihydrotestosterone, as well as insulin-like growth factor 1. Some of the anabolic steroids too cause similar eruptions.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to co-relation between stress and acne. While certain sections of medical professionals believe that stress causes acne flare-ups, there is another group of people who negate this theory, citing insufficient studies or clinical data.
Traditional Acne Treatments
Lotions, creams, medicated pads and gels are some of the common treatments that are explored by patients during the early stages of flare up or when acne is diagnosed as mild or moderate. A thorough skin care routine can work wonders for these forms of acne. Regular washing of face also helps reduce extra sebum and thereby prevents further acne aggravation.
However, topical applications can result in drying of skin and they have to be used for years to prevent relapse or further aggravation.
Retinoids and antimicrobials such as benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics are some of the options used when acne is of the moderate kind. Topical retinoids prevent excessive cornification and follicular blockage. It can also reduce inflammation. Retinoids typically reduce lesions by between 40% and 70%.
Due to the fact that retinoids and antimicrobials tend to dry up the skin and cause scaling, concerned individuals are recommended to start out with small amounts. The response of retinoids is not always instant, but the changes should be seen within the first 8 to 12 weeks.
Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent which acts instantly. It also prevents the resistance of acne to antibiotics which are generally used along with topical antimicrobials. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne by releasing oxygen within the follicle. As mentioned earlier it provides quick results, and therefore one needs to start with a preparation of low intensity. Benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics form a lethal combination in treating moderate acne.
Retinoids, topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics can be used in tandem as a combination therapy. It is also proven that the right combination therapy can sometimes be more effective than standalone or solo application. However, it is always advisable to consult a dermatologist before initiating such a treatment as various ointments and solutions may not be compatible with each other. In such a situation acne may only worsen.
In spite of a wide range of medications and therapies that are available for acne treatment, retinoids have proved ineffective in many cases, especially when patients are diagnosed with severe or extremely severe acne. The reason is because researchers have failed to pinpoint the real cause for the development of acne. This has forced a large number of affected individuals to look out for secondary and complementary medicines. Ointments, lotions and oral pills derived from plant extracts are fast turning out to be one of those popular alternatives.
Medicinal plant extracts have a history of use and effectiveness. Due to the lack of adverse side effects when exploited for longer periods, they offer a safe alternative to treating acne with skin care products which often contain harsh and potentially harmful chemicals. Medicinal plant extracts have been proven to be very effective in treating not just skin ailments but a host of chronic and life threatening diseases. The cannabinoids in these plant extracts react with human body to finetune the endocannabinoid system and thereby treat various illnesses and shortcomings.
CBD oil is one medicinal plant extract which has gotten much attention in recent years from the medical science community. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, cousin of the marijuana plant. Although the research is still relatively new and much more is needed, studies have shown significant improvements in acne when CBD oil is used as treatment. This natural extract is also believed to have enormous healing powers when it comes to chronic pain conditions and a host of other illness.
Hair follicles are complex in nature. They consists of deep, long passageway called sebaceous glands which secrete sebum, an oily substance. The purpose of sebum is threefold; to moisturize the facial skin and create a shield against external bacterial attack and also to carry the dead cells to the surface and out of these small capillaries.
However, when the skin starts to produce more sebum than necessary, it results in the blocks pores. Over a period of time the dead cells start to accumulate under the skin. This eventually leads to bacterial infection which also results in inflammation. The dead cells rise from the skin and turn into pustules in the clogged pore.
As described earlier, the root cause for acne is still a mystery, but what is known is that our bodies produce too much sebum when our endocannabinoid systems aren’t working well. It is believed that deficiency in cannabinoids is what leads to this overproduction of sebum.
Because CBD oil is a cannabinoid it hooks onto receptors found throughout the human body and improves the endocannabinoid systems efficiency. This typically results in the slowdown of sebum production. Moreover, the antibacterial and antiinflammatory properties found in CBD oil help to treat any variant of acne quickly and without scarring the skin.
Some of the recent studies and clinical trials have produced astounding results. Almost 100% of the participants in several experiments conducted across different states reported positive changes. Incidentally more than 60% of these people said their acne troubles had simply vanished. CBD oil has had a major success in acne treatment.
Although CBD oil still needs to be tried and tested on several fronts, its efficacy is no longer an issue. The issue is of course the plant from which it is derived and the belief that it causes the same ‘high’ as its cousin, marijuana. What many people do not realise is that CBD oil contains negligible amounts of the ingredient which causes that side effect, making it perfectly safe to use on a daily basis.
In spite of majority of states opting to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes, its production and subsequent extract of medical substances remains difficult. Even clinical trials are stalled due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. This slows the research process down even further and delays the widespread use of CBD oil as a treatment for not only acne, but many other serious and widespread illnesses and conditions.
Campaigners are focused on raising awareness of the healing properties and total lack of psychoactive ingredients. Once awareness is raised and the current stigma associated with CBD oil is dismantled, it will then be possible to fast track research which is much needed in order to make this natural plant extract a household name and first choice for anyone suffering under the scourge of acne.