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Acne

Acne, while not an illness, is a skin condition which can cause much anxiety and unhappiness to adolescents. This 'rash' of spots, appears mainly on the face, neck and shoulders, and boys are more frequently affected than girls.

Causes of acne

At puberty - any time between eleven and fourteen years - the skin becomes extremely greasy, because of the extra activity of the sebaceous glands in the skin. These glands become activated by the hormones produced at this stage in human development. The pores of the skin can become blocked with this extra secretion ( sebum ) from the glands, and the blockage then becomes the blackhead so commonly seen as a part of acne. If the blackheads then become inflamed, they develop into pimples and boils. Infection can play a part in producing pimples and boils, but chemical changes in the secretion from the glands are the main cause.

Treatment for acne

Acne is usually a self-limiting disease in as much as, once the hormonal changes of puberty are over, the skin and sebaceous glands settle down. But it is at the very age when boys and girls are becoming aware of their appearance, and want to look attractive, that acne can be the biggest problem. So it is important that everything possible is done to reduce the effects of acne to a minimum:

1 Washing the face in hot water at frequent intervals will do much to remove blackheads before they can turn into pimples.

2 A number of lotions are available from chemist's, or on prescription from your doctor, for the treatment of acne. One that has a drying effect will counteract the excessive greasiness that plays such a large part in this condition.

3 Acne tends to improve during the summer. The ultra-violet light in sunlight dries the skin and this accounts for the beneficial affects. So it follows that a boy or girl with acne should avoid using greasy suntan oils. An ultra-violet lamp can be used during winter months, but great care must be taken to ensure that skin is not burned by too long an exposure. Eyes should also be covered when using an ultra-violet lamp to avoid possible damage to them.

4 Antibiotic cream can be prescribed for long-term use if the condition is very severe. These creams will eliminate infection of the spots, they also have a beneficial reaction on the chemical composition of the sebum.

Acne can cause much adolescent misery, and it is of little comfort to the sufferer to tell him - or her - that the spots will improve as he or she matures. Life at adolescence is lived in the present, and long-term cures are inconceivable. Fortunately, while acne cannot be cured instantly, much can be done to improve the condition until a natural recession of the spots occurs.

     
     

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