December 26, 2010

Blackheads are not just a “teenagers” problem

They seem to be a right of passage and most of us had them as teenagers. Blackheads and other problems with acne, particularly on the face and neck are quite a common problem, one which most of us seem to outgrow by the time we reach our early 20’s. Some people seen to be plagued by facial blemishes for much of their lives and cannot seem to get rid of the problem. Cleansing the face thoroughly several times a day is not enough and those who suffer from the problem may appear to be unwashed when they actually try harder than many of us to clear up the problem they are faced with (no pun intended). What causes these facial blemishes and is there any remedy that actually works on it?

Whiteheads blackheads and acne look unsightly

No matter whether you are a teenager or someone much older when plagued by acne related facial blemishes you are most likely embarrassed by it.

1)     Whiteheads are a comedone (showing up as rough areas of the skin or sometimes small bumps which may appear as flesh colored, dark, or white). They are found in sebaceous follicles or pores, usually at the opening of the pore itself. Whiteheads form when the hair follicle does not open to the air, but is blocked.

2)     Blackheads are comedones that have a significantly wider opening than normal allowing oils to build up along with sebum (a natural skin lubricant). When these products are oxygenated they turn dark in color and are noticeably darker than the surrounding skin.

3)     Acne is the result of our body’s oil glands becoming blocked by blackheads and becoming infected. Removing and or preventing the development of blackheads will help in the control of acne.

Wash affected areas frequently to help control acne caused by blackheads

Washing the affected skin at least twice daily with gentle soap and warm water will help by cleaning out the pores. Never use harsh soaps or extremely hot water or even more damage will be done to your sensitive skin. Choose skin care products that do not clog the pores on face, neck, shoulders, and back or wherever acne is a problem. After exercising, be sure to shower to keep sweat from blocking the pores and creating still further problems with skin cells and pores. Use of a gentle exfoliant will help cleanse the skin without doing damage.

Steam and hot water open pores for thorough cleansing

You can effectively open pores while taking a very warm shower or try placing a wash cloth with very warm water on it upon your face for a few moments. Then wash with a gentle soap to clear the pores of residue from air and direct contact with dirt and germs. It is the direct contact with airborne and directly contacted soil that clogs pores initially and results in body oils and excess skin (which is shed daily) thoroughly stopping circulation of the sebaceous skin system.

Soap and water helps but surgery may be needed in severe cases

When pimples and pustules become severe and evidence of acne becomes a serious issue for the patient he or she may opt to seek out professional help from a dermatologist who can recommend more stringent measures to deal with the problem of acne. The affected area can be treated by opening the comedones that are blocked and removing those that are opened too much. Either issue will be the cause of severe acne and can be treated individually or as a group if they are in close proximity. Upon opening the comedones the doctor will remove any blockage material and flush the area with antiseptic fluids. There may be a small amount of bruising or skin discolorization but it will not last long. The procedure has been carried out for decades and offers a safe method of saving skin from further damage and scarring which is common with severe acne cases. Keeping the skin clean by washing thoroughly with warm water and gentle soap will keep the mild cases of blackheads, whiteheads, and acne to a minimum but it a common occurrence around puberty. Teenage girls seem to be especially troubled by mild acne which appears around the days she has her period. Diet plays a part in teenage acne and eating greasy foods and drinking soda pop seems to aggravate the problem for many.

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