Like most of us, you probably have some concerns about blemishes, discolorations or marks on your face, chest and neck. The first step to checking your skin health is simply taking a look. Through a 5 part series, we will explore some conditions that have visible symptoms that are easy to identify, but have many myths associated with them.
Part 1: Acne
If you are suffering with acne, you are not alone. Acne is the most common skin disorder in the world. Acne effects both men & women of all amp; ages, and it can often have a deep emotional & psychological effect on people. Approximately 80% of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 suffer from acne, with many continuing to have acne well into their 40’s and beyond. Acne can strike at any age and excessive breakouts can cuse stress, embarrassment and life-long scars. For most people acne clears up after adolescence, and many have no noticeable scars. Acne can be successfully treated with prescription medications or the acleara treatment – a quick, painless treatment which utilizes light therapy to treat acne.
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Sorting through the Acne Myths:
1. Acne is cause by poor hygiene, not by dirt or surface skin oils.
Washing may help in the overall treatment of acne by removing excess oils, dead skincells and foreign substances, but washing alone will not clear it up or prevent it. The best approach is to wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser followed by the application of a prescription acne treatment.
2. Acne is caused by diet.
Exstensive scientific studies have not found a conclusive connection betwen diet and acne. In other words, food does not cause acne. Chocolate, french fries, oily foods and pizza are often blamed for acne breakouts- but it just isn’t true. As we have pointed out in past blogs, eating a balanced, nutritious diet can have a dramatic effect on the health and the degree of inflammation that occurs in your skin. Since acne is inflammatory, a healthy diet along with a proper medical treatment will bring about the best control of acne.
3. Acne is a simply cosmetic disease.
Acne does affect the way you look and does not pose a threat to your overall health otherwise, however it can result in permanent scarring. Acne can affect the way you feel about yourself and have emotional effects.
4. You have to just let acne run its course. You will outgrow it.
The truth is, acne can be treated successfully. If the acne products you have tried haven’t worked, there are many options for other medications. There are also quick and easy treatments, such as the Acleara treatment that we offer at the Asarch Center.
You need to deal with two basic conditions when treating acne. First, prevention- you need an individualized program to prevent or minimize the major cause of acne- plugged oil-gland openings. Many medications effectively control this problem- e.g. Retin-A, Azelex, Differin or Tazorac.
Second- you need to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria in the plugged oil glands. You can do this with antibacterial lotions, gels, creams or oral antibiotics.
In severe cases the use of a medication, Accutane, may be prescribed. This medication is a Vitamin A derivative and works well, however needs to be monitored closely because of occasional side effects which your doctor should discuss with you.
Ultimately, getting your acne under control can leave you feeling better about your skin and yourself. Identifying the severity of your acne and making a plan to treat it is the first step.
To your skin health,
Dr. Asarch, M.D.