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Acne: A skin disease that may require doctor's care

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Acne is the most common skin disease, and it is most common in teenagers and young adults. Although the cause of acne is unknown, some of the factors that might cause it include:

Hormone increases in teenage years, which may cause the oil glands to plug up more often

Starting or stopping birth control pills

Heredity (if your parents had acne, you might get it, too)

Some types of medicine

Greasy makeup

Squeezing or picking at pimples or scrubbing the skin very hard can make acne worse. Tightness and pressure from bike helmets, backpacks or shirt collars can also worsen an outbreak. And acne often flares up when the humidity or pollution level is high.

Acne is treated by dermatologists who work with patients on healing existing pimples, stopping new ones from forming, preventing scarring and reducing embarrassment. A doctor may suggest over-the-counter or prescription drugs. If you have acne, here are some skin care recommendations:

Clean your skin gently using a mild cleanser in the morning, evening and after heavy workouts. Scrubbing the skin does not stop acne; it can even make the problem worse.

Try not to touch your skin. Squeezing, pinching or picking pimples can result in scars or dark spots.

Shave lightly and carefully and only when you have to. Experiment with electric and safety razors to see which works best.

Stay out of the sun. Many acne medicines can make people more likely to sunburn. Being in the sun a lot can also make skin wrinkle and raise the risk of skin cancer.

Choose oil-free makeup with the word "noncomedogenic" on the label. This means that the makeup will not clog up your pores.

Shampoo your hair regularly, or even daily.

The myths that dirty skin, stress, chocolate and greasy foods cause acne have been proven to be false. If acne becomes a problem, see a dermatologist.

Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one; to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook. com/healthyhabits2013.