. Tuesday, September 23, 2008
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In the beginning was the chin. The chin was pretty and without blemish, and the spirit of Woman was gay as she went from party to party. On the second day, a bump arose on her chin, and she worried. But when evening came, she dusted it with powder and went to the opera. On the third day, more bumps arose––on her brow, her cheeks and the very point of her nose. She scrubbed, she rubbed, she wished them away, but still they remained. Downcast and forlorn, she put away her paints, her powders, her ointments and creams. She even declined an invitation to tea. “Let there be darkness,” she cried. “I sure as heck don’t want anyone to see me looking like this!”

Adolescence revisited
You probably assumed maturity brought rewards––like wisdom, prosperity and a clear complexion. But as many adults have discovered, whiteheads, blackheads and pimples can surface at any age.

That’s because the skin is packed with oil-producing glands called sebaceous glands. Most active on the face, chest and back, these glands manufacture the oil that keeps your skin soft and pliable. In adolescence, the new production of hormones stimulates the glands, making an over-supply of oils that back up and clog the pores. Since the oil can’t get out, pressure builds. The walls of the ducts begin to swell, and pimples form. But adults can get acne, too. Emotional stress and the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle have been linked to adult acne. Acne is also believed to be inherited.

But acne isn’t something you have to live with for the rest of your life. Whether you’re young or old, have an occasional pimple or a full-blown case of acne, you may be able to help control the problem with simple skin care.

Saving face
Most cases of acne involve more than one pimple, and doctors recommend more than one means of control.

Keep your nose clean. Gently washing your face once or twice a day is all you need, says Stephanie Pincus, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology of State University of New York at Buffalo. But don’t overdo it. Overly vigorous scrubbing can compound the problem by irritating the skin. And forget about using abrasive or antibacterial soaps. They’re no better than plain soap and water.

Minimize the makeup. Women who regularly cover up with makeup can develop what doctors call acne cosmetica––cosmetic-clogged glands. To help keep your pores open, stick with water-based products that are easily removed with soap and water.

Listen to your blemishes. Even though there is little scientific evidence that foods such as chocolate, french fries and cheeseburgers cause acne, you should still let you face be your guide, Dr. Pincus suggests. If you are among those who know you break kout every time you eat a hot fudge sundae, try splurging with yogurt instead. For some people, what they eat––or don’t eat––may make a difference.

De-stress your life. When your hormones get riled up, as they typically do during times of stress, your skin gets excited, too.

Hands off. The next time a pimple blossoms on the tip of your nose, you might be tempted to give nature a little squeeze. Unfortunately, even gentle pressure can cause pimples to rupture, possibly causing a permanent scar. Time, not hands, can be the best medicine.

The worst-case blues
If you have persistent, uncontrollable case of acne, your best bet is to see a dermatologist.

For mild cases, an over-the-counter drug called benzoyl peroxide will often do the trick. Benzoyl peroxide may cause your skin to peel and also alters the skin fats and bacteria. Here’s how to use it. After washing, spread a thin layer of benzoyl peroxide over your entire face. Use it once a day at first, then as your face gets used to it, two or three times. Since you may not see improvements for six to eight weeks, try to be patient.

A prescription drug called tretinoin, a derivate of vitamin A, alters the growth of oil glands. Applied once a day, it can dry up current pimples and prevent others from forming. It may cause an uncomfortable burning or drying sensation, but most people soon get used to it, doctors say.

For acne that is inflamed, prescription antibiotics––taken orally or rubbed on the skin––can help, Dr. Pincus says. In most cases, these can be taken for months without causing side effects. Antibiotics such as tetracycline can make your Justify Fullskin more sensitive to sunlight, however, says Dr. Pincus, so you should be careful.

For acne that is out of control, your doctor may prescribe a drug called isotretinoin (Accutane). The most powerful acne remedy––in some cases, it will virtually eliminate the problem––it’s also the most hazardous, sometimes causing itching, headaches, muscle pain and hair loss. When taken by a pregnant woman, it can cause birth defects. This drug isn’t for everyone, but it can make a difference when nothing else seems to help.

Not everyone with acne needs to take medication, of course. But you should still get advice from your doctor. “Not everybody can be permanently cured, everybody can be helped,” Dr. Pincus says.


deny said...

hmm... very good!!

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