H E A L T
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
Acne tends to run in families (it's
It is the most common skin problem young
- 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?
(That's good news!)
- Acne is NOT caused by eating French fries
- Acne is NOT caused by not washing your
Ordinary surface skin oil has little to do
Oil that reaches the skin's surface isn't the problem.
Oil trapped below the skin's surface
What Makes Acne Worse?
- Make-up. It clogs the pores.
- Stress. It may increase oil production.
- Hormones. Some women get acne during their
- Certain drugs and medications can make acne
What Can You Do To Make Acne
- 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