Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
While acne is a problem
that many people will experience at one point or another during their life, and
not only as most think, during adolescence, most are fortunate enough to
experience breakouts lasting for relatively short periods. Then, acne may be treated
and clear up to either never return, or at least give an individual a longer
break. Unfortunately, there are a growing number of acne sufferers who have to
deal with mild to severe breakouts for much of their adult life. For these
people, acne isn't simply a temporary nuisance-it's a real and chronic
condition that impacts many different areas of their life.
If you're suffering from
chronic acne you may be feeling hopeless because after years of trying you
still haven't found a treatment that will work for you. While these feelings
are understandable and justified, take comfort in the fact that the reason your
chronic acne may continue to persist is because many products and treatments do
not approach the issue from the correct angle. Acne treatments that address
only the most visible symptoms of the condition are a dime a dozen, but they do
nothing to treat the real problem-the underlying, internal causes of acne.
Before we look at
chronic acne and what you can do to help improve it, it's important to
understand what it is and how it differs from other forms of acne. Determining
which form you're suffering from specifically is vital in understanding what treatment methods will best
address your problems.
If you have been dealing
with breakouts for two years or more, you're a chronic acne sufferer. However,
under the umbrella term of "chronic acne" there are varying degrees
of the condition-mild, moderate, and severe.
Mild chronic acne is
just that-mild. It usually involves only a small number of pimples that
continue to recur. Most of the time mild acne is limited to the face and
forehead. Even though this is the least debilitating form of chronic acne, it's
still frustrating to have to deal with breakouts on a regular basis over the
course of many years.
Moderate chronic acne,
like mild chronic acne, is typically limited to the face and forehead. However,
with moderate chronic acne your breakouts are likely to be more frequent and
more severe. These breakouts will typically cover a larger area of your face
and you may experience pimples that are larger in size as well.
Severe chronic acne can
be a real burden. Many times this form of acne is not simply limited to your
face-instead you will find that breakouts can occur across the neck, shoulders,
and chest as well. Severe chronic acne is not necessarily limited to just
pimples, either. With it, large acne cysts are possible as well.
Most people are familiar
with the surface-level cause of acne-clogged pores. When the oil glands (known
as sebaceous glands) underneath your skin produce excess oil (sebum) this can
cause your pores to clog, which allows acne-causing bacteria to develop. For
people with mild and infrequent acne, treating these clogged pores is enough to
keep the condition at bay because soon enough their bodies learn to produce sebum
at a more acceptable rate.
However, have you ever
stopped to think about what it is that causes your sebaceous glands to
overproduce sebum in the first place? If you haven't, you should-because the
answer has a lot to do with how we can effectively treat chronic acne.
The hormone known as
androgen is the prime suspect in causing your sebaceous glands to overproduce
sebum. Androgen's most well-known form is testosterone; however, don't let this
association fool you into thinking that androgen is a male-specific
hormone-women's bodies produce androgen as well, although at lower levels.
While men are more likely to suffer from persistent, chronic acne because of
the consistently higher levels of androgen in their blood stream, women are
susceptible to the condition as well-especially during the menstrual cycle,
when androgens are typically at their highest point.
It's this hormonal
imbalance that leads to chronic acne, and as you can see, keeping your face
clean and your pores clear does nothing to address the androgen issues that
cause the condition.
If you want to treat and
manage your chronic acne, you will have to address the problem at its source. By targeting the hormonal causes
of acne instead the symptoms, you will not only help treat your current
breakout but will also help prevent future flare ups from occurring. In the
midst of a chronic breakout, life without acne may seem like an unobtainable
goal, but with patience and a smart plan for addressing acne's underlying
causes, you too can live your life with clear skin and self-confidence.
With a Promise of Clear