Acne is a complex condition with varied causes. In extreme cases medication will be necessary but, in general, the skin can be brought back into balance by restoring normal populations of skin microflora. This can be done with some basic lifestyle choices and careful attention to the products that are applied to the skin.

diagnostic clues

Diagnostic Clues:

Here are some tips on how to diagnose acne:

Teenage Acne

  • Skin scars easily
  • Thickened skin
  • Congested skin
  • Blackheads
  • Pustules

Adult Acne

  • Hormonal acne predominant along chin, jaw-line and neck
  • Few comedones
  • Skin looks shiny and oily, but feels taut

possible causes

Possible Causes:

Here are some of the factors that may be contributing to breakouts:

  • Elevated androgen levels (in both men and women)
  • Disturbance of normal skin micro flora
  • Use of high pH products
  • Stress
  • In many cases acne is hereditary – this does not affect the way that it is treated
  • Certain medication such as steroids and testosterone (in some contraceptive pills)
  • Synthetic red and orange pigments used in make-up are comedogenic
  • Adult acne can be linked to sudden lifestyle changes e.g. divorce, promotion

Important Lifestyle Considerations

Important Lifestyle Considerations:

Here are some suggestions on lifestyle changes that should have a balancing effect on your skin

  • Maintain acid mantle – make sure that all skincare products are pH balanced at between 4.5 and 5 and supplement with topical prebiotics to maintain normal skin microflora
  • Avoid harsh abrasive exfoliators. Keratinisation is a major cause of pimples but exfoliation is not a long term solution as the skin will respond with more rapid cell division at basal cell level
  • Avoid drying cleansers and toners with alcohol – both can impact on the health of your skin’s natural microflora
  • Acne skin scars easily and these scars need to be properly managed to make sure that they are not permanent
  • Avoid excessive UV exposure – this worsens scarring and drops the numbers of microbes on the skin and allows opportunistic bacteria to colonise
  • Avoid all milk products

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