A glowing skin has long been considered as a pointer to our general health. Acne is a problem that is a common affliction for both men and women, especially in our teenage years. Many people resort to quick fixes for acne with over the counter medicines and lotions. These are however, only short-term remedies. What we need to do to tackle acne on a long-term basis is mobilize our body’s own internal resources.
Our skin has its very own inbuilt moisturizer known as sebaceous glands. These are microscopic exocrine glands in the skin which secrete an oily or waxy matter known as sebum. Sebum helps to lubricate and waterproof our skin and hair. All parts of our body have the sebaceous glands except for the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Sebaceous glands are most widespread on the scalp and face. They are highly sensitive to the hormone androgen and though their number remains fairly constant throughout our lives, their activity and size vary depending on our age and hormone levels.
According to Dr. Noura Abdalla Barakat, Specialist Dermatologist at Medeor 24×7 Hospital, Dubai, an overactive or underactive sebaceous gland can lead to disorders like acne, seborrhea, rosacea, sebaceous cyst, sebaceous hyperplasia and sebaceous tumors. The glands can become overactive or underactive on account of a number of factors including hormonal fluctuations. Levels of hormones like DHEA, testosterone, DHT, 5-Androstenediol increase during puberty/adolescence. Use of anabolic steroids for bodybuilding can also lead to excess sebum. Other risk factors that can aggravate acne include duration of local residency in the UAE, halitosis, gastric reflux, abdominal bloating, constipation, sweet food, spicy food, family history of acne, keeping late hours on a regular basis, excessive axillary, body and facial hair and anxiety.
Dr. Barakat explained that the sebaceous gland is connected to the hair follicles in our skin and the sebum travels to the surface of the skin through the hair shaft. When excess sebum is produced, the hair follicles become clogged. When the clogged pores become infected with bacteria, it causes inflammation leading to bulging of the follicle wall and the outcome is occurrence of whiteheads and blackheads. Cystic acne occurs when the blockages occur deep inside the hair follicle.
When people resort to quick fixes like popping their pimples or over the counter medications, they cause further damage to their skin.
Dr. Barakat advises that in case of a sporadic outbreak of acne, it would be better to let it go away on its own. If the acne persists, it would be wise to seek medical treatment as early as possible as this would help minimize scarring. A doctor will be able to determine the cause of the acne and then treat the condition at the root cause.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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