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The skin's worst enemy

By unknown | Jun 26, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Contrary to common belief the greatest challenge faced by most young and older women is not how to balance the power and money scale - but how to cope with skin conditions.

Contrary to common belief the greatest challenge faced by most young and older women is not how to balance the power and money scale - but how to cope with skin conditions.

Acne remains the leader of this most rued pack. It's reported to affect 80 percent of teenagers and an additional 20 percent of women between their mid-20s and 40s. This means that just about every woman is bound to find herself battling acne at some stage.

Factors causing of acne vary. But the number one culprit is believed to be stress. This is followed by hormonal changes in the body, which can also be triggered by excessive stress.

Acne is explained as the result of a combination of dry dead skin cells and sebum, which clog the skin pores. Merely by being stuck in the pores, this combination attracts bacteria that not only worsens the condition but makes it sore as well.

"But the behind development of every acne formation lies a reason," says Dr Oupa Matlala, a dermatologist. "Reasons vary and are wide. They range from poor blood circulation to hygiene obsession."


Misdiagnosis of the cause

Most dermatologists focus entirely on the skin when they talk about the causes of acne. They concentrate on how dry cells mix with sebum and the resulting blockages or plugs that occur in the pores.

"Acne is actually caused by toxins and wastes that build up inside the body and cannot be properly eliminated," Matlala says. "The body has several normal methods for expelling these toxins - through the liver, kidneys, colon.

"If any of these organs are weak and can't handle the load - or if the build-up is too great or too rapid - acne can result.


This happens because when your body is stressed and the increase in stress hormones throws off your equilibrium and you experience all sorts of changes, such as weight gain, increased blood pressure, and worsened acne.


Sometimes a woman's adult acne revolves around her menstrual cycle and pimples develop a few days before the onset of her period.

The reason for this is that during this time a woman's oestrogen levels decrease while her progesterone levels rise. This causes the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which can result in the onset of pimples.


Acne is a common skin condition during pregnancy. Women undergo a slew of hormonal changes during that time.

Acne is often at its worst during the first trimester of pregnancy, when hormones fluctuate. But it is possible for acne to last throughout the entire pregnancy and to continue into the breast-feeding period.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in women.

The condition affects six to 10 percent of all women - and most women don't even know they have it.

While irregular or absent menstruation is the most common sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome, acne is almost always present when this condition occurs.

Women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome suffer from substantial hormone imbalances. When these imbalances are treated the acne often resolves itself.


While it's not common, it's not impossible to experience the onset of acne during your 40s and 50s and beyond. When acne develops at this stage in the game, it's usually mild, but it can still have the same undesirable effect on the sufferers.


Some medications can cause adult acne. These include anabolic steroids, medications containing lithium and iodine, isoniazid and rifampin, and some anti-epileptic medications.


Chlorinated industrial chemicals can create a skin disorder called chloracne, which is actually a type of rash that is caused by exposure to chlorinated industrial chemicals or herbicides.

Physical Pressure or friction

Adult acne can be caused by certain types of chronic physical pressure to the skin, such as the placement of a violin beneath the jaw and chin, or the chafing from the straps of a backpack.

This type of acne is called acne mechanica.

Here is a list of what you can start doing to stop acne dead in its tracks:

l Cut out your intake of processed sugar.

lKeep your skin as clean as possible, cutting down on the application of cosmetics, especially if you suffer from acne. Use oil-free cosmetics that carry the non-comedogenic label.

lUse medicated soap and warm water to wash any acne-affected skin. Most face washes contain many chemicals.

lVitamins and minerals can do wonders for you in preventing acne. Vitamins A, B5, and E are helpful to prevent and treat acne. Zinc minimises acne break outs. You can take the nutrients in your food or as supplements.

lBacteria on your face promotes infection and then acne. Developing the habit of cleaning off the bacterial growth in your skin will help prevent acne.

Wash your face regularly, using a mild medicated soap, and rinsing thoroughly.

lHandle your skin less in order to reduce the amount of bacteria in your skin. Wash your hands before touching your face.

lWash your pillowcase frequently. Always use face towels that are clean. Filthy pillowcases and face towels may contain germs and bacteria that worsen acne.

lAlways take a shower immediately after working out. Sweat, together with skin oils, could trap bacteria and dirt in your pores.

lCleanse your body of its many toxins. Detoxifying your body is a major step to prevent and treat acne.

Here's the usual course for cleansing your entire body:

lScrubbing and stressing about acne will only exacerbate it. Too much scrubbing prompts the skin to produce more sebum, which makes the problem worse and obsessing increases stress levels.

lMost of the time hands are not half clean enough to touch an affected skin - so don't.

A dirty scalp will have an effect on on the skin of your face.


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