The presence of acne is one of the most prominent factors that can affect the self confidence of teenagers. Considering the emphasis that modern society places on good looks, one ugly looking pimple is enough to spoil the day for your teen.
The fact that acne mostly occurs at puberty points to the fact that it is caused by various hormonal changes that are inevitable during adolescence. The sites where tiny hairs exist on the face or the body are most likely to be affected with acne. The oil glands associated with these hairs become overly active when the male hormone testosterone acts upon them at puberty. Testosterone is normally present in small quantities in women too. Sometimes the level of this male hormone increases abnormally in women causing acne.
Acne is basically an inflammation of the skin. The most common cause of acne is oily skin that leads to proliferation of bacteria, which the body recognizes as foreign invasion. To combat this, the immune system secretes hormone-like substances known as inflammatory mediators. This is the main indication of a link between the immune system health and acne.
The most common treatment that is used to control and tame acne is Benzoyl peroxide. This is the main ingredient used in most topical creams. This acid (normally 2%) kills bacteria and also dries the skin’s inflammatory pores. Salicylate and glycolic acid and some fruit based acid solutions, available over the counter, help in destroying bacteria and shedding skin so that the bacteria do not get a chance to reproduce.
In severe cases, the doctor may have to resort to the antibiotic alternative. A variety of tetracycline-based drugs and its derivatives are used as a systemic antibiotic treatment. In severe cases of cystic acne or chronic acne that do not respond to antibiotics, a retinoic acid derivative known as isotretinoin can be used. However, this is a restricted drug and should be used only under the supervision of a practicing dermatologist.
Topical creams used to treat acne may dry up the skin and cause irritation. Benzoyl peroxide tends to bleach hair and clothing. Antibiotic treatment on the other hand can interfere with the contraceptive pill. However rare it may be, it can also lead to severe headaches at times.
Even though acne is likely to disappear as teens grow into adults, it may leave some disturbing scars. The best case scenario is to start treatment as soon as you see the first pimple on your teen. Bacteria grow faster after the initial invasion. Early treatment can drastically reduce bacteria multiplication.
Acne is a condition that can be potentially caused by various internal and external reasons like a stress factor, hormonal changes, bacteria and infection. Herbs for immune system can effectively strengthen the automatic responses of the body when there is an excess production of hormones and therefore can help in prevention of acne. In addition, herbal antibiotics such as aloe, garlic and grapefruit provide an effective protection against bacteria.