Acne is a part of life for about 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30. It can be physically and emotionally damaging, painful, and scarring.
While so many people experience it, there is a lot of misinformation about what causes acne and how to prevent acne. Pure product and gentle simple cleansing is usually the best treatment. Let’s discuss the frustrating topic of acne.
What Is Acne?
Acne vulgaris is a disease of the sebaceous, or oil, glands and hair follicles of the skin. One of the reasons you get a concentration of pimples on your face, neck, chest, shoulders, back, and upper arms is because that is where the most oil glands are located.
Most of us just know the appearance of acne as “pimples,” but here is some language you may hear when discussing what causes acne and the treatment of it:
- Papules: small raised bumps, sometimes red, but not producing pus
- Pustules: small raised bumps that turn red and contain pus
- Nodules: large painful lumps that have no access to oxygen that are formed from a buildup of sebum and dead skin cells
- Cysts: painful lumps that are far below the skin
- Sebum: oil produced by sebaceous glands
What Are The Types Of Acne?
Without getting too scientific, in the simplest terms, acne can be divided into 3 categories:
What Causes Acne?
This is perhaps where the most misconception enters the discussion about acne, so here is the fact vs. fiction about what causes acne.
Acne is caused by:
- Overproduction of sebum (oily skin)
- Abnormal shedding of skin cells
- Development of bacteria
- Inflammation of skin
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, menstruation)
- Medications (example: steroids)
- Certain foods like dairy products and refined carbohydrates
Acne is not caused by:
- Greasy foods
Dirt itself is not a cause and if someone has acne, it does not mean they do not bathe and are unclean. Stress itself does not cause acne, but it can potentially increase its occurrence, particularly in those already prone to breakouts. Stress can result in an increased production of cortisol which in turn can increase the production of oil. Stress can also have a parallel effect of weakening your immune system, which could increase the likelihood of developing acne-causing bacteria.
Acne can also be caused or exacerbated by the use of oily and greasy makeup or lotions. Skin friction like that caused by phones, clothing, and hair can also keep moisture trapped, thereby increasing the production of oil and trapping dead skin cells.
How To Prevent Acne
There is no cure for acne, but there are some steps you can take to aid in the prevention of acne.
- Wash face twice a day with a gentle cleanser.
- Do not use abrasive sponges or cloths.
- Use 100% pure ingredients whenever possible.
- Gently exfoliate your skin 1-2 times per week.
- Use oil-free cosmetics and lotions.
- Dress appropriately to keep from trapping moisture, heat, and dead skin cells.
- Shower after you work up a sweat.
- Try to avoid dairy products, particularly milk, if they make you break out.
What Are The Treatments For Acne?
Mild acne can often be treated at home with over-the-counter cleansers and topicals that contain benzoyl peroxide or sulfur.
When acne is persistently moderate to severe, it may be advisable to meet with a dermatologist. This skin care professional may recommend prescription-strength topical and oral medications like antibiotics or oral contraceptives. For extremely severe cases, the drug isotretinoin may be prescribed, but it has side effects including birth defects if a woman becomes pregnant while taking isotretinoin, and has also been linked to increased cases of depression and suicide even after stopping the medication.
Therapies that can be used to rid the body of dead skin cells are laser/light therapy, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, but don’t use them while taking isotretinoin, or for 6 months after. These treatments will sometimes also reduce the visibility of scars.
What Are Some Alternative Treatments For Acne?
To assist with the prevention of acne and help alleviate the symptoms, there are some natural alternatives. A number of essential oils are believed to help maintain clean healthy skin, such as:
- Sweet almond kernel oil
- Orange peel oil
- Lemon peel oil
- Avocado oil
- Frankincense tree oil
- Evening primrose seed oil
- Geranium leaf oil
- Ylang ylang flower oil
A zinc supplement has anti-inflammatory properties and facilitates wound healing, so it may help with mild to moderate acne.
Looking for 100% chemical-free, all-natural nourishing face and body oils? Check out Earth & Elm Nourishing Face Oil and Earth & Elm Nourishing Body Oil. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.