The medical definition of acne describes it as a genetic disease evolving from retention hyperkeratosis of the follicular epithelium. This means your follicles (often referred to as pores) are essentially clogged, making it a great place for acne bacteria to thrive. The follicles become clogged due to overproduction of sebum (oil) mixed with the build-up of dead skin cells within the follicle.
Although the exact cause of overactive sebaceous glands and acne is difficult to pinpoint, some theorize that hormonal imbalances, psychological aspects, nutritional deficiencies, and genetics may contribute. Other factors that may affect acne can include stress, picking and touching the face, excessive scrubbing, cosmetics, and skin irritants. Stress stimulates the adrenal glands and fluctuating testosterone levels can cause a flare up. Improper extractions can rupture the follicles and cause bacteria to spread. Touching also irritates the skin and breeds bacteria. Make sure you are not over scrubbing the skin, as this can cause irritation and over-production of sebum. Cosmetics, soaps, fabric softeners, and hair products are also possible culprits and it is best to choose fragrance free, dye free, and preservative free formulas. When you start paying attention to all of the possible contributing factors and making life style changes, improvements can be made. With these changes paired with professional skin treatments and proper home care regimens, it is apparent that acne truly is a treatable disease! For genetically-prone sufferers, this implies a lifetime regimen of daily home care! Not bad news though, we all need it really!
RA Clinical Approach to Acne
- Reduce Bacteria and Inflammation on the Skin
- Increase Cellular Exfoliation
- Support Acne with Proper Wound-Healing Care
There Are Many Factors That May Affect Acne:
Stress - The number one factor affecting acne. Stress stimulates the adrenal glands; for women, this may be a problem because these glands produce much of the male hormones. Men produce only a small amount of testosterone in the adrenal glands. Since men also produce naturally higher levels of testosterone, surges of it from stress have less of an effect on acne. Usually flare-ups occur about 14 days following a stress response.
Nutrition - Avoid foods with iodides; salts, processed foods, fast foods, excessive dairy, soy sauce, MSG, alcohol, and caffeine. Some drugs even trigger existing acne conditions. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of pure water every day. Although there is no scientific evidence to support that incorrect nutrition causes acne, proper nutrition can aid existing acne conditions.
Hormones - Hormones also affect acne. Specifically, testosterone stimulates the development of sebaceous follicles and attached oil glands. This is a factor during adolescence when hormones are very active. The fluctuation of hormones during menses accounts for acne flare-ups. It is the increase of progesterone that aggravates acne conditions in genetically vulnerable women. Increased estrogen generally relieves acne, which is why physicians will prescribe birth control pills.
Picking & Touching - Improper squeezing and ill-attempted extractions may rupture the follicle wall and cause bacteria to spread. Touching irritates skin and breeds bacteria from fingers and hands.
Drying - Overuse of very drying skin care products may cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
Excessive and/or Abrasive Scrubbing - Over-cleansing and excessive scrubbing can over-stimulate the production of sebum in the follicle and worsen acne conditions. The formation of acne begins with sebum.
Cosmetics - Fragrances, dyes and preservatives are irritating to sensitive and acne-prone skins and should be avoided.
Skin Irritants - Soap powders (all-natural, fragrance- free is best), fabric softeners, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, etc. are all irritants to existing acne conditions. Rinse laundry thoroughly, replace pillow cases daily, and never use the same wash cloth more than once.
What Are the Different Types of Acne?
Acne Vulgaris - This is a self-limiting, treatable disease, primarily seen in adolescents, that involves the sebaceous glands. Acne Vulgaris usually involves a variety of lesions consisting of comeodones, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts and sequelae, such as pitted or hypertrophic scars. Propionibacterium Acnes are the bacteria that cause Acne Vulgaris.
Acne Cosmetica - A triggering topical comedogenic substance that penetrates the pore and causes formation of comeodones. Acne Cosmetica is usually the non-inflammatory type indicated by small slightly raised red lesions, whiteheads and occasional pustules.
Acne Mechanica - This is caused by friction or pressure. For acne-prone skin, rubbing or any manipulation of microcomedones may cause a rupturing of the follicle. Continual friction from material, such as a hat, will cause Acne Mechanica.
Acne Rosacea - This condition is considered adult acne and is more predominant in women than men. It is usually seen in people with northern European heritage. Acne Rosacea is recognized by erythema with telangiectasia. Lesions seem to follow along the blood vessel dilation. Papules and pustules form in the center of the face, primarily cheeks and chin, and are large and painful. See Rosacea section.
Keratosis Pilaris (KP) - This is a common skin disorder, often referred to as chicken skin or goose flesh. It is a benign condition that shows up as numerous small, rough, red, or tan bumps primarily around hair follicles on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, and sometimes cheeks.
Pseudofolliculitis Barbae – Sometimes referred to as ingrown hair. More common in men and occurs when coarse, curved hair penetrates into the skin just before it would normally leave the follicle.
As you can see with all the different types and forms of acne there is no one for all regimen. We do have some formulations that can impact multiple types of acne but in general every regimen and treatment plan is slightly different and unique.
One other important factor with acne is that it is a wound to the skin. This makes a difference in how you approach the lesions and your view on how to heal that wound. It is definitely a balancing act between bacteria and oil control as well as healing and inflammation support.
Rhonda Allison Acne Care Systems use only the most advanced, results-oriented ingredients to provide antibacterial, antiseptic, and germicidal benefits. By blending the natural actives from ingredients such as mandelic acid, salicylic acid, totarol, green tea, phytic, and pyruvic acid, benzoyl peroxide and lactic acid, Rhonda Allison has been able to focus on three major steps (removing blockages, killing bacteria and reducing sebum production) to aid in the clearing and healing of problematic and acne conditions for disease-free, healthy-looking skin.
Visit a Rhonda Allison expert aesthetician to come up with e best home care regimen and treatment plan for you!