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Acne Vulgaris Treatment

  • Posted January 5, 2007
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  • in category Acne

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Acne vulgaris is a form of acne that affects people all over the world. It is mainly found in teens, but adult cases are quite common. The exact cause of the condition is unknown.

All cases begin with a comedone, or acne lesion, that is clogged with oil and bacteria. It lies beneath the skin and grows as the skin produces oil (sebum). The bacteria feed off the oil and it can become enlarged and swollen. If this occurs, the skin in turn becomes irritated as white blood cells try to fight the inflammation.

If the clogged follicle stays beneath the surface of the skin, but does not become inflamed, it is called a whitehead, or closed comedone. If the plug enlarges and pushes through the skin’s surface, it is called an open comedone or blackhead. The dark appearance of the plug is due to the melanin buildup on the surface and not dirt.

Acne vulgaris can cause skin to become inflamed. The mildest form of this inflammation is a papule, which appears as a small, hard bump on the skin. Pustules are similar to papules but they have a white or yellow center. This type of acne vulgaris is inflamed and causes irritation. A nodule is a large legion that can be painful and last for a few months. Cysts are similar to nodules, but are pus-filled and also leave deep scars. Both cause scarring and can last for a few months. A rare form is called acne conglobata. This is a condition that usually affects men between the ages of 18 to 30 years old. It affects the face, chest, back, upper arms, buttocks and thighs. It can cause severe scarring of the body.

Acne Vulgaris treatment can range from over-the-counter solutions such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, found in popular topicals such as Clearasil and Stridex, which fight to clear the skin by reducing the bacteria on the surface and clearing the pores. Other over-the-counter methods that can be used are mild scrubs that will not irritate the skin or tea tree oil (an oil from Australia that has anti-bacterial properties).

Glycolic Acid, a fruit acid that exfoliates the skin to cause quicker cell turnover, works to clear pores quickly and fight clogged pores. In its earlier use, it was only used in a dermatologist’s office, but now it can be purchased over-the-counter in low percentages of the acid.

For more severe cases, one must visit a dermatologist for stronger acne vulgaris treatment. Medications such as Accutane or Retin-A may be prescribed. Accutane, or isotretinonin, should only be used when the skin has not responded to other acne vulgaris treatment. It is usually very successful to clear skin of even the worst conditions, but it has serious side effects.

Most people will experience dry face and chapped lips when they take Accutane. Those two side effects are the most common; but other side effects are more serious such as birth defects, neurological and other physical problems and possibly depression. However, if your condition has not improved with OTC remedies, and Accutane is the last resort, the promise of a successful acne vulgaris treatment may outweigh the possible risks.

David Bloom is an avid health enthusiast and a regular contributor to a variety of health websites. He is the author of Acne Vulgaris Treatment, a blog dedicated to the treatment of acne, covering conventional and natural remedies for clearing up blemished skin.

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  • Posted On January 5, 2007
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