House Calls

SPR 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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Page 16 of 54

for the family W hether it's periodic pimples or a face full of them, zits are a fact of life. Roughly 85 percent of people ages 12 to 24 experience at least minor acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And though teens are most prone to breakouts, everyone from babies to adults can fall prey. "Acne is a medical condition, not just a cosmetic issue," says Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated dermatologist Fiona Rahbar. Skin pores—which are the openings of hair follicles—contain oil glands that produce sebum, or oil. Though sebum is regularly produced to slough off dead skin cells, acne occurs when there's an overproduction of it, clogging pores with oil and dead skin. When bacteria living on the skin gets trapped, bumps of red, swollen inflammation can occur (a result we know oh-so well). Production of sebum is spurred by androgens, a family of hormones that includes testosterone, so acne tends to flare up during puberty, a time of intense hormonal change. In women, hormone fluctuations linked to pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can also spur breakouts. Genetics has a say in our susceptibility to acne, as well. Areas of the body with the highest concentration of oil glands— the face, chest, upper back, and shoulders—are most prone to acne, which can range from mild cases to severe (see sidebar). "There are different types of acne and they aren't all treated the same way," Dr. Rahbar says. When a breakout strikes, resist picking, as this can spread bacteria and cause scarring. If regular washing with over-the-counter products doesn't work, visit your primary care provider or a dermatologist, who can help determine the best course of action. "You want to use a regimen that's tailored to your skin," says Dr. Rahbar. "There are so many acne treatments available these days—there's no reason for people to suffer." About Face Let's talk acne: the why, when, and how to prevent and treat it – B Y C A R O L I N E F O S S I A Breakdown of Breakouts A look at the various forms of acne (from the mild to the most severe) and how they're best treated: • Blackheads: Open pores clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria • Whiteheads: Similar to blackheads, but pores are closed • Papules: Small red, tender bumps caused by excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells pushing deeper into the skin and causing inflammation • Pimples (pustules): Papules with pus at their tips • Nodules: Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin • Cystic lesions: Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin To treat mild acne, wash your face (or the affected area) twice daily with warm water and a gentle cleanser or soap. Avoid scrubbing, as this can irritate the skin. Acne face washes with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be used for more severe cases; you can also try a retinoid cream or gel to help unclog pores. If over-the-counter treatments aren't effective or if acne becomes more severe, see your primary care doctor or a dermatologist, says Dr. Rahbar. More intensive acne treatments include topical or oral antibiotics, as well as prescription-strength creams and gels. 12 { spring 2019 } h o u s e c a l l s FACT OR FICTION? Greasy foods and dairy can aggravate acne. ANSWER: The jury's still out. Scientists say more research is needed to learn how diet affects acne. Some studies show that high-glycemic foods—those that cause your blood sugar to spike, such as white bread and French fries—may worsen acne and that following a low-glycemic diet (including fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and steel-cut oats) may reduce breakouts. And though milk is a low-glycemic beverage, some studies suggest dairy consumption may be linked to an increase in acne.

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