Factors That Can Make Acne Worse
Factors that can cause an acne flare include:
- changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women 2 to 7 days before their menstrual period starts
- oil from skin products (moisturizers or cosmetics) or grease encountered in the work environment (for example, a kitchen with fry vats)
- pressure from sports helmets or equipment, backpacks, tight collars, or tight sports uniforms
- environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity
- squeezing or picking at blemishes
- hard scrubbing of the skin
Myths About the Causes of Acne
There are many myths about what causes acne. Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, but there is little evidence that foods have much effect on the development and course of acne in most people. Another common myth is that dirty skin causes acne; however, blackheads and other acne lesions are not caused by dirt. Stress doesn't cause acne, but research suggests that for people who have acne, stress can make it worse.
Who Gets Acne?
People of all races and ages get acne. It is most common in adolescents and young adults. An estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point. For most people, acne tends to go away by the time they reach their thirties; however, some people in their forties and fifties continue to have this skin problem.
How Is Acne Treated?
Acne is often treated by dermatologists, who are doctors who specialize in skin problems. These doctors treat all kinds of acne, particularly severe cases. Doctors who are general or family practitioners, pediatricians, or internists may treat patients with milder cases of acne.
The goals of treatment are to heal existing lesions, stop new lesions from forming, prevent scarring, and minimize the psychological stress and embarrassment caused by this disease. Drug treatment is aimed at reducing several problems that play a part in causing acne:
- abnormal clumping of cells in the follicles
- increased oil production