Article in brief: the author explains what causes acne and how to prevent and treat it.
One of the most common concerns is acne, a condition where the oil glands in the skin get clogged and form pimples and get infected. At times, they can cause scarring.
From a medical perspective, acne is classified by severity into mild, moderate or severe acne. Based on these classifications different regiments can be prescribed ranging from topical ointments to oral pills and antibiotics when needed.
Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and the cells have various forms and structures. When dealing with acne we have to look at the epidermis (the top most layer) and the dermis (where the oil glands and hair follicles reside). We also need to look at the hormones, as some hormonal imbalances can lead to acne and skin problems.
From a physical standpoint, acne can be caused by an imbalance in the oil glands, which usually happens at puberty. However, over-cleansing the skin can dry it up and in turn cause the sebaceous glands (oil glands) to over secrete oil, which can lead to acne. It is thus recommended to wash the face with soap once a day only and make sure to moisturize after to avoid dryness and re-stimulation of oil glands. If the skin is naturally oily then an oil free moisturizer is recommended. Sun block also aids in maintaining a healthy skin structure and makes the skin less likely to develop problems. However, it can also clog pores and lead to acne.
The type of sun block and cosmetics used has to be pore friendly and balanced for the skin type. Zinc-oxide is a good alternative if you are prone to acne and need sun screen.
Making sure the face is well cleansed before going to bed is key. As we go out our faces are exposed to dust, food, dirt along with cosmetics. Making sure all impurities are cleansed before going to bed is vital to avoid bacterial infections.
The food you eat also has a direct effect on the skin. Oily foods and fried foods can stimulate oil glands, and some have associated caffeine, milk and chocolate with acne. However, I usually suggest the client to keep an eye on how their skin is responding to each after stopping it for one week or so. Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet generally help enhance the way your skin looks.
Making sure the skin is hydrated goes beyond applying a moisturizer but is also affected by the amount of water you drink. Make sure to drink enough water to flush away the toxins and maintain your body balance and skin freshness. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as strawberries and citrus fruits, have been found to increase skin radiance.
If the acne is mild, topical oils such as tea-tree oil can help recover the skin and kill the bacteria. Tea-tree oil can be used directly or can be found in various ranges from pharmacy moisturizers to high-end products.
If that doesn’t work then topical antibiotics, retinoid or sometimes oral antibiotics might be needed. Consulting your doctor to decide what works best will be the best option here.
If the cause of acne was hormonal, a full hormonal screen will help pinpoint the treatment mode in conjunction with other remedies.
Studies have shown that in college students, acne outbreaks increased during finals. This might show that as stress levels increase the tendency to develop skin conditions, and especially acne can increase too. Therefore, ensuring that stress levels are at bay by time management, having a good support system and self-awareness and balance is very important for the skin as it is for any other organ.
From a spiritual standpoint your skin is what shows you off to the world. It is how you define who you are, if you have issues with discrimination by race, color, ethnicity or beauty it can be reflected on your skin.
Our skins are also important for touch. Touch connects us to other people and to this world. So if you are unable to connect to people, this can also be reflected in the skin condition.
Being able to reach an awareness of where you stand in relation to other people and their backgrounds, along with how you are perceived by the world, can help clear out your skin and enhance its radiance too.
In conclusion, having healthy skin is attainable by taking care of what you eat, how much water you drink and how you treat your skin and beauty inside out.
Mariam looks at health from a holistic perspective and believes that our bodies respond to our thought patterns and emotional behaviors. She also believes that health is attainable and that a happy life is a healthy one. Mariam created the concept of "ebb and flow" to reflect how we can deal with the various tides of life by flowing in harmony with our inner wellbeing to achieve health. The column will cover common health topics with an approach to conditions in a mind body spirit framework.