Acne

Several factors make for the development of this skin disorder including genetics, bacterial growth on a person’s skin, emotional stress, some cosmetics, changes in climate or environmental circumstances, and hair diet.

Acne begins in the hair follicle and its accompanying sebaceous glands. Normally, the pores of the skin secrete their oils from the hair follicle up through the opening to the skin’s surface. Dead cells produced by the follicle are carried to the skin’s surface and washed or wiped awTay. In acne, dead cells and other debris stick to the follicle and the oils in the hair follicle mix with the dead cells. This forms a plug that is pushed to the surface of the skin, and stretches and weakens the opening of the hair duct and blocks removal of cellular debris and oils. Bacteria that live in the hair follicle convert the sebum and dead cells into compounds that irritate the lining of the follicle and eventually the follicle ruptures. Sebum and acids are released into the surrounding dermis, which causes inflammation and damage to the skin. (Figure 6, page 66)

The primary7 aid in the prevention and treatment of acne is to keep the skin clean and oil-free. Some antibiotic medications, such as tetracycline, limit the growth of bacteria in the hair follicle and are effective in the treatment of acne for some people. Oestrogen is used in the treatment of acne in some females. A synthetic form of vitamin A called retinoic acid (available by prescription) and benzoyl peroxide might help prevent the formation or release the plug of sebum that forms in acne or reduce the formation of sebum.

Zinc might also be effective in the treatment of acne. Some people show fewer skin sores and their skin is less oily after supplementation with zinc sulphate. A zinc deficiency might increase the symptoms of acne.

None of the foods commonly thought to cause acne in teenagers, such as chocolate, soft drinks, sugar, greasy foods, nuts, milk, salt or iodine, appear to be linked to the skin disorder. The stress of adolescence and its effect on stress hormones affect the condition, in which case the cure is simple but does require patience.

The research on hair diet and acne is limited, however a nutritious hair diet will probably provide the nutrients that will aid a person in the prevention and treatment of acne.


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