Acne is More Than a Few Breakouts

Acne is a common skin that affects adolescents that occurs when mostly hair follicles on the skin become plugged with dead skin cells and oil and sometimes bacteria. You may call the breakouts "whiteheads", "blackheads" or just "pimples", but they are all variations of the same condition.

If you are an adult reading this, you may be suffering from it and know very well that the condition doesn’t magically disappear after adolescence for some people, or can disappear and rear its face when you are an adult. Or you may see it for the first time as an adult.

But why does it appear at all? Like everything else with the human body, acne is a complicated condition. Smothering it with a benzyl peroxide cream, a salicylic acid cream, or some other topical medicine may help temporarily, but the problem can be deeper than those medications can reach and those medications do have side effects that most people ignore. Taking oral antibiotics may temporarily help, but they create many other problems.

Types of Acne

Acne is typically divided into 2 general forms: noninflammatory and inflammatory. Noninflammatory breakouts are those annoying ones, the blackheads and whiteheads.  Doctors like to use more fancy descriptions, calling them open or closed comedones.

Inflammatory breakouts are those that (duh) involve inflammation and they are the more noticeable ones. Pimples have white pus at their tips so the temptation is to squeeze them to get rid of them. Nodules are larger, solid and usually painful bumps deep beneath the surface. Cysts are painful pus-filled bumps that are deep and expansive and are most likely to cause scarring.

Why are You Suffering From Breakouts?

According to the Mayo Clinic, 3 factors lead to the development of breakouts:
  1. Overproduction of sebum, the protective oil for the skin
  2. Irregular shedding of dead skin cells
  3. Buildup of bacteria

Any of those factors can be caused by:

  • An imbalance in hormones
  • Medications such as corticosteroids, androgens (male sex hormones) or lithium
  • Diet
  • Stress is another cause, since stress affects all aspects of the body, although the official statement is that stress is only a risk factor, not a cause.
  • Let’s not forget to mention that overzealous cleaning of the skin wherein you strip off the protective layer of oil and bacteria (i.e. probiotics), causing your body to overcompensate, can increase your risk.
  • Make-up or other cosmetics, large-particle size oils, and repeated or prolonged contact with anything that can irritate your skin or block it from “breathing”, can also increase your risk.
  • Genetics may also play a role, although you are not sentenced to breakouts simply because you inherited a susceptibility.

Hormone fluctuations during adolescence, pregnancy, perimenopause, andropause and while using birth-control pills often cause breakouts. That’s why pimples can reappear or appear for the first time as an adult.

Corticosteroid drugs, especially injected ones, can cause an imbalance in your cells. I once had a steroid injection to try to calm down a severe muscle spasm. Not only did it not work, but it caused my entire back to break out in pimples for weeks. (Note to self: never do that again!)

Diet can have huge influences on breakouts for many reasons including that it can affect hormone levels. One of the big reasons, however, may be that what you eat affects your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The GI Tract-Acne Link

This page explains the possible GI (gastrointestinal tract)-link to your skin problems and how probiotics and nutritional consultations can help.

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