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What makes you prone to Acne?
Acne is a disorder which is characterized by small red bumps on the skin or occluded pores in the skin such as blackheads. It can make people conscious of their appearance and result in low self-esteem and anxiety. It usually affects people who fall in the age group of 12-25, but sometimes older people also get affected.
There are various factors that makes the skin prone to acne. Acne occurs when overactive sebaceous glands (glands that produce oil in the skin) produce excess oil and the dead skin cells clog the pores of the hair follicle present in the skin. Inflammation occurs in the clogged hair follicle resulting in acne.
Some causes that makes your skin prone to acne are:
- Diet: Following a proper diet is a key factor in keeping your skin healthy. Food usually doesn't cause acne directly but can cause other problems such as greasy skin that are linked with acne. However, foods high in iodides such as seaweeds consumed over time can cause acne.
- Stress: Stress is another major cause that makes your skin prone to acne. When the body is stressed, it produces excessive testosterone (a sex hormone) resulting in excessive oil production. Stress also impairs the immune system of the body so that it becomes vulnerable to acne.
- Cosmetics: Some cosmetics (usually oil based) tend to clog the pores of the skin which may result in acne. Using harsh cleansing agents can dry and irritate the skin. Also, gentle washing of the skin is recommended to avoid breakouts.
- Hormones: Changes in hormonal balance can cause acne especially in the beginning of puberty. In some cases, women are affected by acne when the menstrual cycle stops. The acne caused by hormonal changes may also be genetic in nature.
Most people have suffered from acne at some point of their life or the other. However, acne is one of the most misunderstood skin conditions. Let's take a look the common myths and facts about acne.
Acne is caused by poor hygiene habits - Myth
Acne is not caused by dirty skin. Contrary to popular belief, washing your face too many times can make the condition of your skin deteriorate. This can also worsen your acne breakout. Aggressively soaping your skin and excessive use of astringent can also traumatize the skin and make it look worse after treatment. You should ideally wash your face twice a day; once in the morning and once before going to bed. However, if you feel a buildup of oil on your face, you can wash it with lukewarm water and a mild soap.
Acne affects people of all ages - Fact
Acne is most common amongst teenagers but can affect people of all races and ages. Hormonal changes and stress are two of the most common triggers for acne. Acne that begins after the age of 25 years is known as 'late-onset acne'. Hormonal changes associated with a woman's menstrual cycles often trigger acne eruptions.
There is no treatment for acne - Myth
Acne does not go away on its own. At the same time, toothpaste and 'picking pimples' are not the best forms of treatment for this condition. Acne can be easily treated with over the counter and prescription drugs. In some cases, you may also need antibiotics or hormonal medication. If left untreated, acne can result in permanent scarring that mars your beauty.
Moisturizing skin can help prevent acne - Fact
It may seem contradictory at first glance but keeping your skin moisturized can help prevent acne. Dehydrated skin produces more oil than hydrated skin. Thus keeping your skin hydrated is essential. Choose a light moisturizer instead of heavy crams.
Makeup causes or accelerate acne formation - Myth
Makeup has often been misunderstood as trigger for acne. However, makeup itself does not cause acne. The fault lies in not removing makeup properly at the end of the day. If you have oily skin that is prone to acne, choose powder based foundations instead of liquid foundations that can clog your pores. If you use a lot of makeup through the day, give your skin time to breathe at night. Ensure that every trace of makeup is removed before you go to bed.
Ingrown hair refers to a situation in which a part of the body hair which has been trimmed, shaved or tweezed grows back into the skin in a curled form. This sometimes causes painful and discomforting skin conditions such as swelling, bump formation and chronic pain in the area from where the hair was removed.
This condition is mostly common among people who have very tightly curled hair on their entire bodies. Among men the most affected areas are cheeks, chin and neck. Additionally, they can also appear in cases of men who regularly shave their head. In case of women, ingrown hair is common in areas like armpits, pubic region and legs.
The most common signs of this condition are:
- Small skin bumps (papules)
- Small, pus-filled, blister-like lesions (pustules)
- Hyperpigmentation (skin darkening)
- Long lasting and chronic pain
Ingrown hair might also occur if you do the following activities:
- Pulling your skin while shaving your body hair can give rise to ingrown hair. This in turn allows the shaved hair particles to penetrate back into the skin without growing outwards.
- Tweezing of hair can also lead to the hair particles to grow inwards instead of growing outwards.
Some common complications associated with this condition are:
- Bacterial and fungal infections that usually happen from scratching of the affected area.
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin which involves an abrupt darkening of the skin areas.
- Permanent scarring of the tissue of the affecting skin.
A head louse is an insect that lives on the human scalp and feeds on human blood. The female louse lays eggs in the head and makes sure the eggs are attached to the hair shaft. It takes around eight days for the egg to hatch. The louse takes another 11 days to mature into an adult louse.
The primary cause of head louse is poor personal hygiene. Other causes due to which a person can be infected by lice are:
- Using combs and towels that are infested.
- Coming in contact with another person who has this condition.
- Sharing the bed with a person who is affected by lice.
When a person is affected by this condition then the following symptoms are observed:
- The saliva of the lice causes an allergic reaction in the scalp which leads to constant itching. It can occur in various places such as ears, scalp and the neck. It may not occur initially, but it tends to occur after a few weeks.
- Constant scratching can lead to formation of small red bumps on the skin. A bacterial infection usually occurs from constant itching.
- It may lead to symptoms of dandruff in the scalp.
- Presence of various insects in the scalp.
Prevention of Lice:
Lice can be prevented by using medicated shampoos and conditioners to wash the hair. The shampoos are usually based on a chemical called pyrethrin. This compound is toxic for lice and helps in getting rid of it.
You can also opt for the following lifestyle changes to prevent lice:
- You should avoid sharing your hairbrush with others.
- In case you have long hair, tie it in buns or ponytails.
- Add tea tree oil to your shampoo before using it.
- Keep the scalp clean to prevent infestations.
- Avoid sharing pillows and clothes.