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Thursday, February 19, 2009

A List of Common Natural Remedies

Hot/Cold Compresses - A chief natural remedy that is recommended more often than not is the usage of hot and cold wet towel compresses to reduce swelling and eliminate clogged pores--the major culprit in the production of acne.

Drinking Water - This natural remedy for acne is simple enough. The premise behind it the idea that if you drink a sufficient amount of water per day, typically 7-8 glasses of water a day, your body is cleansed of elements of toxicity that can actually contribute to the development and spread of acne. It also should be noted, that many natural remedies not only recommend to merely drink plain old ordinary water, but actually adding herbal ingredients by boiling fenugreek seeds and corn into the water.

Oils and Juices - Though it can seem odd, the benefits of using natural substances like almond oil - which can actually help with the removal of acne scars - cannot be ignored. Apricot juice helps to alleviate the presence of cysts by cutting through them.

 Cucumber juice - Used as a topical application, either alone or combined with carrot juice, alfalfa or lettuce.
 Citric fruit juices - These types of juices, such as lemon juice, serve as a natural exfoliate, removing dead skin cells which might cause clogging of the pores. You should allow it to dry on the face for approximately 10 minutes before rinsing it away with cool water.

Fenugreek leaves - This remedy provides great prevention of breakouts and involves taking the fenugreek leaves, crushing them, and making a paste out of them. You should then apply it to infected areas every night, then wash it away the following morning with warm water.

Honey Mask - Because honey has naturally occurring anti-bacterial qualities it is often applied to the face as a mask, killing surface bacteria. Typically, the mask should be applied once or twice weekly depending upon the results of usage.

Distilled white vinegar - Apply the vinegar as a topical solution, letting it sit on the infected area for at least 5-10 minutes. Then rinse it thoroughly with cool water. Often the vinegar can be a little too strong so it is recommended that you dilute it, though not too much.

Make-up or Cosmetic Usage - Simply put, this is a common sense remedy for acne. Just avoid using these products because more than likely the chemicals and oils used to manufacture them will clog the pores, which, in turn, leads to more breakouts.

Natural Acne Remedies

The subject of natural or homegrown acne remedies is a broad one to cover as one must be able to separate the effective options from those that really amount to little more than old wives’ tales. Yet, with this said, someone searching for successful remedies for acne would be foolish to overlook the benefits of those natural remedies that have been passed on in families. These sorts of remedies based upon common sense practices or herbs are typically successful for most mild cases of acne. It is when these cases grow more severe that one should consult a physician or dermatologist.

For centuries, civilizations relied exclusively upon herbal and natural remedies for the treatment of every ailment. No, there were no convenient drive-up pharmacies to get a prescription for manufactured medications. In order to find ways to help treat sickness one had to venture into the woods and search for cures there. And for the most part, nature provided for these needs through the various herbs that were found to have medicinal value.

The earliest physicians were nothing more than what we today call herbalists or at a certain point in time, apothecaries. Either way, the natural remedies they discovered were the basis for scientists who later found ways to create synthetic substitutes for these herbs and distill the innate properties down into a form that can be amplified or augmented by other elements.

Pyoderma Faciale

This type of severe acne affects only females, usually between the ages of 20 to 40 years of age. It is characterized by large painful nodules, pustules and sores that may leave scarring. Forming abruptly, pyoderma faciale may occur on the skin of a woman who has never had acne before. Generally, this type of extreme acne is confined to the face, and though it usually does not last longer than a year, it can cause a great deal of damage in a very short time.

Gram-negative Folliculitis

Gram-negative folliculitis is a form of extreme acne caused by an inflammation of the follicles that is caused by bacterial infection: This condition is characterized by pustules and cysts. It has been determined in some cases of the disorder that its development is caused by a complication resulting from a long-term antibiotic treatment of acne vulgaris.

The reason that this form of acne is called “gram-negative” relates to the fact that gram is a type of blue stain used for laboratory testing for microscopic organism. Bacteria that do not stain blue are referred to as “gram-negative.”

Like other forms of extreme or severe acne, gram-negative folliculitis is a rare condition, and we do not know whether it is more common in males or females as it has been documented in both.

Acne Fulminans

This type of severe acne is actually an abrupt onset of acne conglobata that typically afflicts young men. The symptoms of the severe nodulocystic, often ulcerating acne, are readily apparent. As with normal cases of acne conglobata the lesions cover large portions of the extremities and the facial region, including the disfiguring scars that can eventually develop. Yet what makes acne fulminans unique in that it also includes fever symptoms, aching of the joints, particularly the knees and hips, and varying degrees of weight loss that depend upon the individual.

Acne Conglobata

Acne Conglobata is the most severe form of acne vulgaris. This form of extreme acne, generally characterized by the appearance of large and numerous nodules, often interconnected, along with widespread blackheads. Because theses lesions can become ulcerated, they can cause severe, irrevocable damage--even disfiguring scarring--to the skin. Acne conglobata is commonly found on the face, chest, back, buttocks, upper arms, and thighs.

The age of onset for acne conglobata is usually between 18 and 30 years of age and it is more likely for males to get the condition than it is for females. It should also be noted that acne conglobata can stay active for many years, lying dormant until something causes it to resurface. As is true with all types of acne, the cause of acne conglobata is not known.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Severe Acne

There are at least four types of acne that are recognized by many dermatologists and others in the medical field as severe regarding both the type of lesions that it produces on the body and long term effects it can have for the sufferer including scarring. This extreme acne affects more than just the body; it can affect every aspect of a person’s life. The pain and heartache of dealing with these potentially disfiguring forms of acne cannot be overemphasized but this does not take into account the emotional and psychological aspects that can lower quality of life and permanently destroy self-esteem.

- Infantile Acne

This form of acne occurs in newborns and is concentrated on the nose and cheeks. It is caused by the hormonal changes that have occurred will the fetus was developing in the womb. Typically, the acne clears up in matter of weeks without treatment.

However, infantile acne has a serious aspect that must be considered. If simple cleansing with mild soap and water will not clear the acne up then a mild topical agent (such as a prescription form of benzoyl peroxide for infants) helps both the current situation and prevents scarring. If this does not help, then a dermatologist may need to be consulted.
Things to note:

 Family History. Genetics might be a factor in the development of acne in the infant. Do the child’s parents or siblings have acne or did they have it in the past?

 Early hormone production. It may be that the infant has a condition that causes early production of sex hormones--especially androgen which is linked to acne. If this is the case, then medical help should be sought to avoid problems with the child’s development.

 Growth and developmental abnormalities. Acne at such an early stage in the child’s life could indicate developmental problems that might not show up until later. A pediatrician should be consulted to find out if this might be a possibility.

 Drug-induced acne or acneiform eruption. It could be that the child has been exposed to certain medications that can cause acne or acneiform lesions. Examples of such drugs include corticosteroids and those that contain iodine.

- Excoriated Acne

The term excoriated means to scratch or abrade the skin. Now when we bring this term into the context of acne we have what is called excoriated acne. This type of acne is defined by the behavior of the person suffering from it. When such a person obsessively picks and scrapes at every pimple and blemish on their skin, they are said to have excoriated acne. Because of the excessive nature of the attention given to the sufferer’s skin, deep irritation can result as well as scarring.

Though it may appear to others as a mild form of acne, without pustules or nodules, to the person dealing with it, this condition may be intolerable. This almost psychological urge to get rid of one’s skin lesions or blemish can become very damaging. As such, it is recommended that a dermatologist be sought for treatment.

- Acne Cosmetica

Often women who regularly wear make up or cosmetics find that they are getting breakouts on the forehead or cheeks. It may be what is called acne cosmetica. This form of acne is generally caused by the type of cosmetics that a person is using.

Pomade Acne

When hairstyles change, it is not uncommon for teenagers and young adults to adopt new styles. But, sometimes a new style requires the use of a thick, oily hair cosmetic called pomade. Pomade is generally used when a hairstyle requires that curly hair be straightened or hair be molded into various shapes.

One of the undesired effects of pomade use may be pomade acne. Pomade acne occurs on the scalp, forehead, and temples where pomade comes into contact with the skin.

Most, if not all, pomades fall into the category of comedogenic – or pore clogging - cosmetics. The heavy oils used in pomades can clog skin, setting the stage for the formation of comedones. In addition, some of the other chemicals in pomades may irritate the skin, contributing to inflammation.

- Acne Mechanica

This form of acne is caused by external mechanical forces like constant pressure, constant and repeated friction, covered skin, and heat. For those involved in sports, in the military or in high-activity jobs, this is nothing new as the condition is common with many athletes and in professions where factors like tight-fitting, even restrictive clothing is worn for extended periods of time. These sort of jobs may include certain kinds of factory work where an employee may be busy with repetitive tasks that may irritate the skin and lead to break outs.

For soldiers who must wear uniforms much of the time and may be carrying backpacks with straps that bite into the skin and cause friction with each step or straps on weapons that can also rub again the body this can become a real issue. Operating in the extremes of temperatures that these soldiers often do can also often complicate existent acne by causing inflammation and further breakouts.

Further examples of possible causes may include:

 Wearing head bands that can rub the forehead and irritate the skin
 The kind of friction caused by physical contact with musical instruments
for extended periods of time
 Wearing tight clothing period; whether it is blue jeans or types of
undergarments made with synthetic materials
 Even bra straps if they happen to fit snuggly against the skin

Adult Acne

Adult acne is a form of acne vulgaris that can affect adults over 30 years of age. Those who had no problems with acne as a teenager have found that they are having breakouts. But because acne is normally associated with the hormonal fluctuations that occur during puberty, its appearance in an adult should be investigated to determine the underlying causes--especially if it appears for the first time in adulthood.

The following are at least three reasons why acne appears after 30 years of age:

 Often the acne that one had as an adolescent resurfaces later in adulthood. It is not always clear why this happens, but it is one reason for its presence in adults.

 In women, acne often reappears during pregnancy where there had been no activity for months, if not years. This could also be true in the case of woman during their menstrual period.

 Thirdly, acne can appear in adults for the first time who have never had it before. Now with this third reason, it might be more obvious that something unusual is going on and it might be wise to talk to a dermatologist or at least your family physician.

With some reasons established, we can now mention some of the possible causes of adult acne:

 Medication. As has been stated previously, some medications can induce acne. Anabolic steroids, anti-epileptic medications, anti-tuberculosis drugs rifampin and isoniazid, lithium and medications that contain iodine.

 Chronic physical pressure on the skin. Whether chaffing from wearing a helmet or carrying a backpack, such pressure against the skin can lead breakouts. (See acne mechanica)

 Chlorinated industrial chemicals. Working in certain types of industrial environments can cause acne-like symptoms or even chloracne, an occupational skin disorder caused by prolonged exposure to chemicals like chlorinated dioxins.

 Metabolic changes. With changes in the body’s hormonal balance, such as those present during pregnancy or menstruation can produce acne in adults.


Though often misdiagnosed as acne, rosacea is, in fact, not acne. Rosacea affects thousands of people in the U.S. alone, mostly those over the age of 30. It generally appears as a red rash confined to the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. This redness is often accompanied by bumps, pimples, and skin blemishes--the reason it is so commonly mistaken for acne. Further, this redness is also linked to the fact that blood vessels may become more visible on the skin. Rosacea has been shown to be more prevalent in women than in men, but often if found in men it tends to be more severe. If you are seeking treatment and you think it may actually be rosacea, you need to be aware that the treatments differ quite a bit from those used in the care of acne vulgaris.

Types of Acne

-Acne Vulgaris

Acne vulgaris is another name for common acne. This is the type of acne that mainly affects adolescents but may persist and become more severe as one reaches adulthood.

Mild to Moderate acne vulgaris is characterized by the following lesions:


Whiteheads result when a pore is completely blocked, trapping sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells, causing a white appearance on the surface. Whiteheads have a shorter life span than blackheads.


Blackheads result when a pore is only partially blocked, allowing some of the trapped sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells to slowly drain to the surface. The dark color associated with its appearance is not caused by dirt. Rather, it is a reaction of the skin's own pigment, melanin, reacting with the oxygen in the air. As a whitehead has a short life cycle, a blackhead is a firmer structure, and can often take a long time to clear.

Papules are inflamed, red, tender bumps with no head.

A pustule is similar to a whitehead, but is inflamed, and appears as a red circle with a white or yellow center. (This is what is commonly called a “zit.”)
Severe acne vulgaris can be distinguished by the presence of nodules and cysts:

As opposed to the lesions mentioned above, nodular acne consists of acne spots which are much larger, can be quite painful and can sometimes last for months. Nodules are large, hard bumps under the skin's surface. Scarring is common. Absolutely do not attempt to squeeze such a lesion. You may cause severe trauma to the skin and the lesion may last for months longer than it normally would have left untouched.

An acne cyst is often similar in appearance to a nodule, but it is pus-filled, and has been described as having a diameter of 2 inches or more across and is often very painful. Again, scarring is common with cystic acne. Squeezing an acne cyst may cause a deeper infection and more painful inflammation which will last much longer than if you had left it alone.
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