Almost everyone has been through a phase where their skin has broken out in acne. Acne is a skin condition where redness, swelling and pustules can be unsightly and cause social anxieties for the sufferer. Some sufferers left this indignity behind with their teenage years. For the vast majority, acne decreases during the twenties, and disappears almost completely during the later twenties. But for a few unfortunates, the acne battle is almost lifelong. Before you can attempt to treat acne, you must understand the acne environment where acne bacteria thrives and that starts with a discussion about Bacteria and Acne.
Acne bacteria are normal skin bacteria but it is the environment of the face and other skin on the body that changes with the beginning of the teenage years, and triggers the breakout of acne. Acne is most common on the face, but can occur all over the body to varying degrees. It is a condition that arises often response to a change in the hormones. That is why it often arises during the teenage years as we mature and experience hormonal changes.
Oil is important to the health of our skin, because it washes away dirt and bacteria that get into the pores of healthy people. In acne sufferers, there is often too much oil though and when combined with excess dead skin cells, it all sticks together to plug up the pores. Sometimes this happens with bacteria trapped inside, and causes acne breakouts. The hormones that cause this excess oil are called “androgens.”
Bacteria trapped behind oil and skin cell clogs in a pore multiply rapidly because they have a good environment and source of nutrition. They just love it in there! The immune system is responsible for making sure that these bacteria don’t damage the body, so it launches an attack against the growing invaders. This attack consists of white blood cells and special immune molecules sent to destroy the bacteria trapped in the pore — voila! – the pimple forms.
Pus, the white or yellow liquid in an acne sore, is a mix of dead immune cells, immune molecules, and the bacteria that they have killed. The sores usually look bad, and many people consider opening them to drain the pus, but that’s actually a bad idea. The body will reabsorb the pus, but if bacteria more virulent than the acne bacteria get into the open sore, infection can occur as well.
Reducing the number of acne bacteria on the skin of a sufferer can cause fewer acne sores to appear because it makes it less likely that a clogged pore will have bacteria in it. An anti-bacterial agent like benzoyl peroxide is good for this purpose. It is available over the counter in creams, washes, rinses, and other application formats. Benzoyl peroxide can be very effective for many acne sufferers. Sometimes, seeing a dermatologist and applying stronger anti-bacterials can work more effectively. Also, many dermatologists today can use lasers to reduce the amount of acne bacteria on the face – sometimes it simply requires getting a healthy balance of bacteria back to the facial area.
In most people, adulthood will bring the skin back to balance, with the acne bacteria living in harmony with the body when it stops producing so much oil. But this is not true for all people, and acne can be caused by situations other than excessively oily skin. Sometimes hot and moist conditions can cause certain people to break out which is why we see more acne breakouts during summer months.
In treating mild acne or the occasional pimple spot, the best treatment is prevention. And this prevention is best accomplished by using a gentle soap or cleanser to wash your face on a regular basis. This removes any excess oil, bacteria or dead skin cells that might combine to cause a breakout. Knowing how the acne environment where acne bacteria thrives works will help you better your treatment methods and reduce your spots. Many women experience increased acne before their menstrual cycle. While this can be somewhat unavoidable entirely, practicing good skincare, especially prior to the cycle, can help.
Did you know that your makeup can harbor bacteria? Choosing a high-quality mineral-based makeup can seriously help many acne sufferers because the bacteria are not able to grow so rapidly or take up residence. Also, be sure to regularly clean makeup brushes and pad that you use to apply your makeup. Spraying a high percentage alcohol on the applicators regularly, even daily, is also a good idea to keep them free of bacteria.