Who suffers from acne?
Acne used to be a temporary skin affliction during the teenage years. Acne has now become a life-long, inflammatory condition of the skin affecting tens of millions of people. Acne is very common, affecting about 90% of teens. A high percentage of adults also suffer from chronic acne, enduring severe symptoms and scarring when left untreated.
What is acne?
Acne can have mild symptoms, such as red, irritated skin to extreme symptoms of papules, pustules, inflamed nodules, fibrosis and skin ulcers. Severe acne can result in scarring, social embarrassment and psychological damage.
Acne begins with increased oil production in the skin associated with increased Testosterone production during puberty. Black heads (oxidized oil) and white heads (un-oxidized oil) are plugged pores commonly seen in mild acne. These can become inflamed, red, tender papules and evolve into moderate to severe pustules, nodules and cysts with secondary bacterial infection. Acne is usually located on the face, but it can be commonly found anywhere on the skin of the upper body.
What causes acne?
In order to effectively treat acne symptoms, we must identify the cause. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Toxins from inside the body, as well as from the environment, such as toxic heavy metals, pesticides and free radicals are deposited into the skin. The skin has limited means of detoxification. These include exfoliation of the top layer dead cells, lymphatic drainage, blood flow and sweat. When these detoxification pathways are overwhelmed by toxins the layers of the skin respond by producing various inflammatory symptoms or “skin diseases” such as acne.
Is acne caused by a bacterial infection? No, but there is a connection. The bacteria Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis occur naturally in healthy hair follicles. When excess oil and overgrowth of bacteria occur in the plugged follicles, enzymes can be secreted that break down the excess oil and cause inflammation. This continuous inflammatory cycle of excess bacteria, enzymes and oil results in acne.