WHO GETS ACNE?


Hereís the bad news.  Almost everyone gets Acne in one shape or another during adolescence.  An estimated 80% of all people get acne at some point in their lives.  But, hey, at least youíre not alone.  Pimples are one of the most hated plagues on the teenage population to date.  However, it doesnít stop there.  Acne is not just restricted to teenagers.  People in their 20ís, 30ís, 40ís and so on are often threatened by adult acne.  The younger population manages quite well to treat acne problems with over-the-counter acne medications.  For some, itís not that simple.  Sometimes, acne is more serious and requires the help of prescription drugs.

So, since all teenagers have acne at some point in their careers as young adults, are people clear after adolescence?  Not exactly.  Some adults can experience problems with acne that they never had in their youth.

Adult acne affects men and women equally, just sometimes at different stages of life.  Men are more prone to acne problems during puberty.  Women might experience acne during puberty and menopause.  During puberty, men are more likely to have severe acne.  On the other hand, women suffer from hormonal changes during their period.  This accounts for a significant increase in acne.  Cosmetics also accounts for increased acne problems in women.

     WOMEN:

Hormonal changes during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause effect the emergence of acne in women.  It becomes easy to understand why hormonal therapy works so well when other therapy fails.

Estrogen and progestin are major hormonal players in women.  Menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all deal with imbalances of these hormones. 

Studies have shown that acne occurs more frequently during the week before menstruation.  These conditions remain present for about a week.  The changing balances of male and female hormones sometimes produce skin flare-ups.  Hormonal treatments exist to help moderate acne problems during menstruation and pregnancy and can be used for women whose acne simply wonít respond to regular acne treatments.  Hormonal therapy must be carefully monitored for side effects.  A doctor must preform a full screening procedure before hormonal acne treatments can be given.  Therapy also increases the risk of breast and pelvic cancer.

In young women, irregular menstrual period and excessive facial hair could be symptoms of polycystic ovary disease.  This disease stems from the overproduction of androgenic (male) hormones.  While this disease is not common, its treatment is necessary to prevent infertility. 

Acnegenicity means- the ability to cause acne breakouts.  With all the cosmetics on the market today, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that cosmentics are noncomedogenic, meaning they do not cause acne.  Many cosmetics are comedogenic and therefore create whiteheads and blackheads.  This being understood, it is very important to realize what is and isnít good for your skin.  Cosmetics should be used with care by those that have or have had a history of acne.  The use of water based make up is much more preferable than the use of oil based makeup as oil based is hard to remove and causes more clogged pores.  Future use should be discontinued even on noncomedogenic cosmetics if acne lesions appear.  Any dryness, irritation, itchiness, etc should be watched for when using noncomedogenic cosmetics.  Just because something is ďnaturalĒ or ďherbalĒ doesnít mean that it is necessarily good for the skin.

       MEN:

Acne is generally more severe and tends to occur more frequently in men than women because men produce more androgens-the hormone that stimulates sebaceous gland activity. These glands produce sebum which can clog the hair follicles and lead to whiteheads and blackheads.

As a teenager, the root of your problem is more likely to be hormones-specifically, testosterone-that triggers sebum production. As a man ages, sebum levels, like testosterone levels, drop but don't stop.

"By the time most men are 20 or 25, acne vulgaris (or common acne) is gone. In men, adult acne is much more likely to be rosacea, sometimes refered to as acne rosacea, which requires a different more selective type of treatment.

     CHILDREN:
Itís interesting to note that newborn infants may sometimes have acne lesions are their face after birth.  Commonly called baby acne, this is normal, and is caused by fluctuations in hormonal levels during and after birth.  However, for most children, acne doesnít become a problem until their teen years.  Acne rarely surfaces in children from ages 2-8.

Due to low sebum production in children, sebaceous follicles are not irritated.  This low sebum production is due to the very low amounts of androgenic hormones that are being produced in a childís developing body.

Sebum production increases as a child grows into adolescence as he/she begins to have hormonal fluctuations.  Higher sebum production results in greater chance of acne problems later in teenage life.

     FAMILIES:
Genetics and acne are still not clearly defined.  However, it is noticed that acne does tend to run in the family.  If one or more parents has or had acne earlier in their life, studies show that their children might also have problems with acne.  However, in contrast, there are some families that donít portray this theme at all.  It also might occur that a child might have acne, whose parents never had severe problems.

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