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Acne is an inflammation of the skin centered in the Sebaceous Glands.

What is Acne?

Acne is usually found where the sebaceous glands are most active - on the face, neck and upper body. At puberty, male hormones (androgens - produced in both males and females) stimulate increased growth of skin cells and increased production of sebum.

Sebaceous ducts may become blocked by skin overgrowth to form a whitehead, or by plugs of sebum which darken on exposure to air, forming a blackhead. When the sebum trapped in a whitehead or blackhead is forced into the deeper skin layers an inflammatory reaction causes a red lump called a papule. If infection follows, pus collects and a classic pimple (pustule) is seen. When the inflammatory reaction is severe, large, painful cysts may form.

It is not clear why some people suffer from constant or frequent acne while others have it rarely or never. There seems to be an inherited tendency for skin and sebaceous glands to over-react to androgens, which explains why acne tends to run in families. Acne remains a source of misery for many young people. There are many effective treatments which can reduce the frequency and severity of eruptions. All acne sufferers should see their doctor or a dermatologist for an assessment of the most suitable treatment.

Some important points about acne:

  • It is definitely stress related, so you are more likely to have a flare-up when you are under any sort of physical or emotional strain.
  • Avoid picking and squeezing, which may force more sebum into deep skin layers, causing increased inflammation. Fingers may also introduce infection.
  • You won't see the benefit of any treatment for at least six weeks, so persevere and be patient.
  • There is no connection at all between diet and acne, in spite of all you'll hear about it being caused by everything you like. Nevertheless, a well balanced diet is good for everyone.
  • Moderate exposure to sunlight usually helps acne.
  • Don't scrub. Scrubbing stimulates overgrowth of skin cells, aggravating the condition. Wash twice a day with plain soap, and dry gently.
  • Blackheads do not result from uncleanliness or the use of cosmetics.
  • Disguising an unsightly spot with a water-based cover cream won't aggravate the condition and is good for your morale.
  • Wearing your hair in a fringe does not cause acne on the brow.
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What is a Blackhead?

A blackhead is a dark dry plug in the opening of a sebaceous gland. Blackheads, known in medicine as comedos, consist of dried oil, dirt, bac­teria, and cellular debris. They occur mostly on the face, back, and chest, and may be as small as a pinhead or as large as a pea.

A blackhead results when sebum (the oily fluid secreted by the sebaceous gland) becomes clogged in the gland opening and cannot flow freely onto the skin surface. Contributing causes include poor hygiene, an unusually thick horny layer of the skin, and an increased production of sex hormones, such as occurs during adolescence. Blackheads may be removed with a comedo extractor, which consists of a tube into which the blackhead rises when pressure is applied to the surrounding tissues. In using a comedo extractor, one must be careful to avoid damage to the skin and to prevent the spread of infection. Some­times, blackheads can be removed through the use of medicated soaps or lotions, peeling agents, or by ultraviolet or superficial X-ray therapy.

Olay Blackhead Clearing Scrub, 6-Ounce (Pack of 2)

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Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Kit

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Updated: 08/29/2013, health
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Holistic_Health on 10/19/2011

Solid advice. Amazed at number of adults who have acne nowadays.

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