H E A L T H:

Your skin is your largest organ! It's all over you and the way it looks is a #1 concern among teens.

A report from the National Center for Health Statistics has revealed that 86.4% of all 17 year olds suffer in varying degrees from some form of acne. (Well, that takes care of most of us!) So if you've got pimples, you are definitely not alone.


What is it? Acne pimples start in the skin's hair follicles, which are connected to oil-producing glands. Normally, the oil flows out of the hair follicle to the skin's surface, carrying with it dead skin cells from the follicle lining. During adolescence hormones stimulate increased oil production. Acne starts when too much oil combines with the dead skin cells, hair fragments, and bacteria to form plugs. They block the pores of the skin and cause pimples. Most teen have a few pimples every once in a while. (Even the popular people get them.) Some teens have them pretty much all the time. (No fun.)

What Causes It?

A bunch of things working together (against your skin). These include: enlarged oil glands, excess oil, bacteria, and enzymes or hormones. Just being the age you are is part of it, too. (Major changes are going on in your body - growth spurts, physical maturation, and a surge of hormones.)

Acne tends to run in families (it's inherited).

It is the most common skin problem young people have.

  • The Good News: For most teens, acne peaks at around 18 (then fades away).
  • The Not So Good News: Some people suffer from pimples on the face, chest, and back well into their 40s. (You needed to hear this, right?)

What Doesn't Cause it?

  • Acne is NOT caused by eating French fries or chocolate.

(That's good news!)

  • Acne is NOT caused by not washing your face enough.

    Ordinary surface skin oil has little to do with pimples.
    Oil that reaches the skin's surface isn't the problem.

    Oil trapped below the skin's surface causes pimples.

What Makes Acne Worse?

  • Make-up. It clogs the pores.
  • Stress. It may increase oil production.
  • Hormones. Some women get acne during their menstrual periods.
  • Certain drugs and medications can make acne worse.

What Can You Do To Make Acne Better?

  • Keep your skin (and hair) clean but don't overdo it. So-called "acne soaps" with sulfur don't work very well, since you wash away the medication when you rinse your face!
  • Don't use make-up. Anything smeared on the face can clog pores and contribute to pimples. Some make-up actually irritates the cells lining the oil gland pores and encourages the formation of blocked pores.
  • Steam. Some people believe steam helps opens pores. (A warm wet wash cloth pressed to your face will do the same thing.)
  • Benzoyl peroxide. An ingredient in the most effective over-the counter acne products. Benzoyl peroxide is the only over-the counter ingredient that prevents the formation of new pimples.
  • See a "dermatologist" (a skin doctor). If you are troubled with acne that won't go away, a dermatologist can prescribe more powerful anti-acne medication.





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