An Introduction to Acne Treatment
Nearly 17 million people in the United States have acne, making it the most common skin disease. Acne affects almost all teenagers as well as a growing number of adults. It attacks all kinds of skin - with little regard to race or gender - on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. It can take the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, nodules and cysts - even permanent scars. Often, acne clears up after several years, even without treatment. Sometimes, however, action needs to be taken.
Acne is formed when skin cells inside hair follicles shed too fast and clump together, plugging up the follicle and causing a pimple. While mostly genetic, acne can be aggravated by any combination of stress, hormonal activity, hyperactive sebaceous glands, accumulation of dead skin cells, bacteria in the pores, skin irritation or scratching of any sort, anabolic steroids, medications containing halogens (iodides, chlorides, bromides), moisturizer overuse, hair removal, lithium, barbiturates, androgens, or exposure to high levels of chlorine compounds.
Many acne sufferers think they have no recourse but to wait it out and pray that theirs is not a severe case. Today, an overwhelming variety of preventions and treatments exist to combat every kind of acne, from the humblest of whiteheads to the most vicious cystic inflammations. From kitchen to pharmacy to natural food store to dermatologist's office, there are dozens and dozens of treatment routes you can take, depending on your case of acne.
Over-the-counter topical treatments are your first line of defense against acne outbreaks. Benzoyl peroxide is the most popular chemical for this type of treatment, coming in such sommonly known brands as Clearasil, Oxy, and Neutrogena. It is important to treat acne early on, as all treatments are actually preventions against later outbreaks. For more severe cases, there are oral and topical prescription medications, as well as traditional or laser surgery.