Acne is considered pimples, zits, blackheads, and whiteheads. These are all part of the same irritating ailment that affects so many, especially teenagers. In fact, many people consider acne the most irritating thing about puberty. At a time when teenagers tend to be very self conscious and are going through physical changes, cracking voices, menstrual cycles, facial hair, and hair growing in strange places, these darn pimples come along to make things even more complex. Where in the world do they come from?
Common acne is officially known as acne vulgaris. This blemish producing blight is caused by multiple factors. During puberty the body produces an excess of the male hormone testosterone. Also, female menstrual cycles cause changes in the body that throw the hormone balance a bit out of whack. Add to this the other changes in the adolescent body that begins the process of turning them into adults, and acne is on its way. Much of the problems caused by acne come from the bacteria that is normally present on skin, a staff like bacteria that grows in abundance, especially in clogged pores filled with dead skin cells.
Other things can cause acne as well, or make it worse. Exposure to too much chlorine can cause a long lasting and nasty type of acne, and use of anabolic steroids can cause acne, in addition to many other health problems that they can cause.
For many years people thought that acne was caused by poor hygiene, and kids would scrub their faces raw in an effort to open up pores and get rid of pimples and blackheads. That actually may make the problem worse by damaging the skin. Also for many years people thought that certain foods would make some people more prone to acne. Fried foods were blamed, as was chocolate. This may have been a natural assumption. Teenagers often eat candy bars and other chocolate foods. Also teenagers tend to be fans of fried foods, such as hamburgers, French fries, tator tots, fish and chips, and fried chicken. Many people associated oily skin with greasy foods, but there is no medical or scientific connection. Acne is a nasty, but natural part of growing up.
Most people outgrow acne as their bodies change and puberty ends. In fact, by the time most people reach their twenties they are through with the ravages of acne. For a few people it may hang on longer, but for the vast majority of people it is a temporary and passing thing. Time will cure most cases as a person passes into adulthood.
The types of acne blemishes are divided into two different categories, inflamed and non-inflamed. Non-inflamed blemishes are called blackheads or whiteheads. The whitehead is a clogged follicle that plugs the skin pore. The mass is made up of dead skin cells. The blackhead is in essence the same thing, but it has opened up and become oxidized, creating the darker tint. Many people think that blackheads come from dirt, but that is not the case.
Inflamed blemishes are those that are commonly call pimples or zits. These blemishes are usually reddish and look inflamed. The red pimple is classic. A bit more troublesome is the larger cyst. Pimples develop when a whitehead does not turn into a blackhead and plugs the pore so that it can be expelled. Instead the pore wall breaks down and becomes a repository for oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and other debris of the body. White blood cells congregate in the blemish to fight the infection, and form a puss substance, that can become painful. Everyone is familiar with pimples. The larger cyst can be even more painful, and it can flair up again and again and may require medical attention.
There are many misconceptions about acne. Some people think that the sun will cure acne and seek a suntan as a cure all. However, this has no positive effect, simply darkening the skin just makes pimples harder to see, and the side effects can be wrinkles and skin cancer in later life. However, there are many treatments available for acne that can lessen the impact it has on the lives of the victims. Many good over the counter remedies, natural remedies, and when needed prescription, drugs can help.