Friday, January 1, 2010


Less helpfully, sebaceous glands cause acne, the scourge of teenagers everywhere. The problem starts when puberty ramps up the production of certain hormones, most significantly, testosterone (in both boys and girls). At the first sign of these hormones, the highly excitable sebaceous glands begin pumping out huge quantities of sticky sebum. Inevitably, they clog themselves up. But the real nightmare is that they keep producing sebum even when the glands are blocked, causing a swelling that eventually appears on the surface of the skin as a whitehead. With chronic acne, swollen sebaceous glands become inflamed, and trapped sebum can form a cyst. Cysts, in turn, can lead to permanent scarring.

So a blockage deep in a sebaceous gland causes acne, which itself is usually caused by the sudden onrush of hormones at puberty. It’s just as important to note what doesn’t cause acne, including chocolate, fried foods, and poor hygiene. (In fact, aggressive washing can exacerbate the inflammation.) Stress may make acne worse, which is rather unfair, considering that the stress was probably caused by the monster zit that appeared Saturday night before your big date.

If you’re suffering from acne, here’s some practical advice:

• Think before you squeeze. Virtually all dermatologists will tell you to resist the urge to pop a zit. After all, the risks are legion—you might force the sebum deeper into your skin, worsen the inflammation, and cause scarring. However (and this is not the best topic among polite society), if you have a pimple that isn’t inflamed and is white, ripe, and raised above the surface of your skin, it’s safe to give it a tentative nudge. But if blood or clear liquid emerges, just walk away from the mirror before you do any damage.

• Try an over-the-counter lotion. Treat mild cases of acne with an overthecounter cream. The key ingredient to look for is benzoyl peroxide. There’s no magic formula, so don’t plunk down serious cash for the miracle cures shilled on late-night infomercials.

• Get help for acne that doesn’t improve. Don’t be an acne hero. Living with a bad case of acne can lead to scarring (and not just the psychological kind). Your friendly neighborhood dermatologist can prescribe an antibiotic lotion or an oral antibiotic that will change the balance of bacteria on your skin, ultimately reducing the inflammation.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

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