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General Information: Acne

Acne Vulgaris - What is it?
Acne vulgaris, commonly referred to as just acne, is a chronic inflammation of the skin that occurs most often during adolescence but can occur off and on throughout life. The skin eruptions most often appear on the face, chest, back and upper arms and are more common in males than females.

Signs and symptoms:
Blackheads - the size of a pinhead.
Whiteheads - similar to blackheads.
Pustules - lesions filled with pus.
Redness and inflamed skin.
Cysts - large, firm swollen lesions in severe acne.
Abscess - infected lesion that is swollen, tender, inflamed, filled with pus, also seen in severe acne.

Oil glands in the skin become plugged for reasons unknown but during adolescence, hormone changes play some role. When oil backs up in the plugged gland, a bacteria normally present on skin causes an infection. Acne is NOT caused by foods or uncleanliness. Cleaning the skin can decrease its severity, while rubbing or touching the skin can make acne worse. A family history of acne can indicate if an individual will get acne and how severe it might be. Currently, acne can't be prevented.

Acne can be brought on or made worse by:
Hot or cold temperatures.
Emotional stress.
Oily skin.
Endocrine (hormone) disorders.
Drugs such as cortisones, male hormones, or oral contraceptives.
Some cosmetics and hair products.
Food sensitivities.

Again, foods do not cause acne but some certain ones may make it worse. To discover any food sensitivities, eliminate suspicious foods from your diet and then start eating them again one at a time. If acne worsens 2-3 days after consumption, then avoid this food. Acne usually improves in summer so some foods may be tolerated in summer that can't be eaten in winter.

Acne Treatment & Tips

Oral or topical antibiotics.
Cortisone injections into acne lesions.
Oral contraceptives.
Tretinoin, which may increase sun sensitivity and excessive dryness, is not recommended during pregnancy.
Photodynamic therapy, which involves applying a medication on top of the skin and activating the medicine with a powerful light. This procedure is done in the doctor's office.
Accutane (isotretinoin) is a powerful drug to treat acne but can have serious side effects.Your doctor will discuss those side effects with you if Accutane is prescribed.
Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing may be another option to treat acne scars. This is a type of cosmetic surgery to help remove unsightly scars.
ACT-Acne Clearing Treatment - Dr. Lin's personal 3-step kit to help improve acne and acne scars.
Tips that may help acne:
Avoid washing and scrubbing with harsh soaps and brushes. This may make acne worse, as well as dry and irritate the skin. Gentle cleaning is usually best with a mild cleanser such as Dr. Lin's LINAGE Beta Enzyme Cleanser.
Shampoo hair at least twice a week. Keep hair off of face even while sleeping as hair can spread oil and bacteria. If you have dandruff, use a dandruff shampoo. Avoid cream hair rinses.
Wash sweat and skin oil off as soon as possible after sweating and exercising.
Use thinner, water-based cosmetics instead of the heavier oil-based ones. Remove cosmetics as quickly as possible when not needed. Never sleep with make-up on overnight.
Avoid skin moisturizers unless recommended by your doctor.
Do not squeeze, pick, rub or scratch your skin or the acne lesions. This may damage the skin causing scarring and delay healing of acne. Only a doctor should remove blackheads.
Keep from resting face on hands while reading, studying, or watching TV.
Try to avoid pressing the phone receiver on you chin while talking on the phone.
Don't use the sun to treat acne.
ADSCI - Advanced Dermatology Skin Cancer Institute Linage Dermatology Linage Skin Care