ACNE, OFTEN THOUGHT OF AS AN ORDINARY teenage condition, is in reality a common skin disorder afflicting people of all ages. Women, especially, can be affected throughout various stages of their life. This potentially scarring disease of the pore can cause significant damage on and below the surface of the skin. Acne can take a psychological toll on those who suffer from it—causing feelings of poor body image, low self-esteem, and depression. As a wellness professional, you should be as concerned about your clients’ mental health as you are about their physical well-being. Recognizing the debilitating impact of acne and working to treat it is an important goal. In order to treat acne, however, it is important first to understand what is causing it.
Genetics play a key role in the development of acne. Despite popular belief, acne is not related to chocolate, fried food, exercise, or poor hygiene. It is caused by sluggish dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria in the pores. The condition is called retention hyperkeratosis and is the prerequisite leading to acne lesions.
The clinical evidence of acne can be confirmed with the appearance of whiteheads (closed comedones), blackheads (open comedones), and varying stages of manifesting pimples (pustules, nodules, and cysts) on the face as well as the back, neck, chest, and shoulders. Acne can be active for several months (acute) to many years (chronic). In the case of chronic acne, ugly reminders of past acne can include visible scars, pigmentation, or both.
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