Excoriated Acne – If you pick at it, it WILL get worse.

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Tips, Featured

When your mother used to tell you that picking at a cut would make it worse, she wasn’t kidding. If you are still doing it to this day, however, then the chances are that you have a compulsive skin picking disorder – apparently not that uncommon in this day and age. But picking at a healed cut or spot is a big mistake. It can lead to a small scab becoming a large wound, and can very easily result in infection. The unsightly blemish that results is known as excoriated acne.

“Excoriate” means to strip the hide or skin off something. It is a word that is used figuratively as much as anything, often being used to explain the severe telling off that an unruly child might get from a parent. But it does have a literal application, and the obsessive habit of picking at our skin is an example of how excoriation is a genuine problem. Anyone can develop excoriated acne, but it is more common among women.

Excoriated acne is the result of a desire to pick, squeeze, or scratch at blemishes, even creating new blemishes in some cases. This leads to open sores which, when they scab over, are prime for picking again. It can be a very hard habit to break, sometimes only stopping when the skin ceases scabbing. At this point, what you are left with is open red sores and inflammation. This is excoriated acne, and can be very unsightly and also potentially very unhealthy.

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Hypertrophic Scars – Not Something You Need To Face

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Tips

Among the many types of acne scar that can be found regularly among sufferers, the hypertrophic scar is unique in that it is rarely found on the face of a sufferer. It is also rare in that it is not seen where tissue has been eaten away by a breakout of acne, but rather where there has been extra tissue created. A hypertrophic scar – taken from the term “hypertrophy” which means an increase in the size of an organ due to overgrowth of cells – actually stands out from the skin rather than being sunken into it.

Most usually, hypertrophic scars are to be found on the torso of a male sufferer and look like a raised, firm bump of tissue. Often, a hypertrophic scar will grow larger than the original wound and they happen as the result of an overproduction of collagen, the tissue that allows our skin to be flexible enough that we can manipulate it easily. Hypertrophic scars are often confused with “Keloid” scars. Keloid scars routinely overgrow the area of the original injury, and may affect the ability to move the skin in the area where they grow.

In order to treat a hypertrophic or Keloid scar, cortisone is injected into the affected area, shrinking and flattening the scar tissue area. The shrinking and removal of this scar tissue is also aided by a softening process involving the injection of Interferon. If you suffer a hypertrophic scar and cannot fund the surgery, it may not be that big a deal – they often decrease in size and improve in appearance over a short time.

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Rolling Scars – A Rare Form of Acne Scar, But Unpleasant Nonetheless

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Tips, Featured

Although the majority of scarring caused by acne, particularly facial breakouts, falls into the categories of ice pick or box car scarring, there are other forms of scar which can afflict the acne sufferer. One of the two other major forms of scar is the rolling scar, which is characterised by a rolling appearance, almost like a wave breaking across the skin. The skin around it will look absolutely normal, which throws the scarring into an ever clearer view. It is a form of scarring that causes discomfort and embarrassment.

It is caused when a fibrous band of tissue forms between the top layer of skin and the subcutaneous tissue as a result of weakening of the connection. These fibrous bands exert a pull on the epidermis and cause it to cling to the deeper structures of the skin. The aesthetic result of this pull is that some of the skin appears sunken while that around it is where it would usually be. This creates the familiar, wave-like appearance which, when moving, appears to be as the name would suggest, rolling across the skin.

In order to get rid of rolling scars on the skin, the most popular method of surgery is called subcision. This name comes from the Latin terms “Sub”, meaning underneath and “incisio”, meaning to cut. The practice of subcision involves cutting underneath the skin’s surface and inserting a needle which is used to cut out the fibrous tissue that his holding down the top layer of skin when this is done, the epidermis is freed and able to move independently.

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Box Car Scars – The Aftermath of Inflammation

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Tips

Although not as common as ice pick scars, nor as pronounced, box car scars are a familiar type of acne scar, most frequently found after an inflammatory acne breakout. In comparison with ice pick scars, box car scars are a good deal wider and though not quite as deep as ice pick scars they do give the skin a somewhat pitted appearance. Usually a box car scar will be round or oval in shape and have steep sides. They are recognisable for the amount of tissue that is removed to make them.

The box car scar is created when an inflammatory breakout of acne strikes, destroying some of the collagen which gives facial skin its rubbery, flexible texture. Where the tissue is effectively burned away by the inflammation, the skin is left without support and develops a sunken look. There is no set level of severity for a box car scar, and it is recognised purely by its shape. They can consequently be fairly superficial or very severe depending on the severity of the breakout and the amount of tissue destroyed.

To treat a box car scar, it is possible to use punch excision, although the nature of that form of surgery is more suited to ice pick scars. Instead, punch elevation is a more frequent choice for surgeons. This style of surgery involves cutting out the base of the scar and lifting (or elevating) it to a point where it is level with the surrounding skin. It is then held in place using surgical sutures until it heals, leaving the skin looking much less pitted.

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Ice Pick Scars – The Most Common Acne Scar

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Tips

There are four major types of acne scar which affect acne sufferers in a major way. They are, in order of regularity: ice pick scars; boxcar scars; rolling scars and hypertrophic or keloid scars. The most common of these is the ice pick scar, it is not difficult to work out how this kind of scar got its name – in short, it looks as though the sufferer has been attacked with an ice pick or a similarly sharp, thin instrument. Ice pick scars are characterised by their depth and their narrowness. Some people say that ice pick scars look like a hyper-large open pore.

The way that an ice pick scar is formed explains its unique appearance. Usually a result of cystic acne, the scar develops after a cyst, or other rooted, inflamed blemish works its way up from the inner layers of dermis. Al the skin tissue in its path, and nothing else, is effectively burrowed away, leaving behind this long and deep scar. If seen as a cross-section diagram, an ice pick scar looks like a deep, narrow ravine.

Treatment is available to improve the appearance of ice pick scars, if not remove the scarring entirely. The most popular metjhod of treatment is a form of surgery known as punch excision. A small tool is pressed into the skin like a cookie-cutter in order to pull away individual scars. The wound, scarcely any wider than the original scar, is then closed using surgical stitches or skin glue. Once it has healed, the skin looks a great deal more normal.

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Laser Treatment – Burning Acne Away Without Harming You?

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Information

The fight against Acne is one that has been going on since the time of the Ancient Romans, and is one that is set to continue for a while yet. Acne is not a syndrome that takes the punishment lying down, and as a result the keenest minds in dermatology have as yet delivered only short-term fixes and imperfect solutions. One way that is being looked at as a potential preventative against acne formation is laser technology. Currently used in the removal and reduction of acne scarring, it has been earmarked by scientists as a potential weapon in the “war on acne”

The idea behind this laser therapy is that the laser will burn away the follicle sac in which hair grows along with the sebaceous gland where the oil is produced, as a result causing oxygen to form in the bacteria, killing them at a stroke. There are concerns, which may be obvious to those who understand how lasers work. The danger is that heat damage to the skin may cause long-term dryness and spots. The United States Food and Drug Adminstration has approved the small-scale use of lasers for the treatment of acne, and results have so far been mixed.

Among other problems, it has emerged that some of the laser devices were affected by coolant failure, causing patients to suffer painful burning injuries. The treatment is quite expensive due to its small-scale operation and as yet the technology has not been perfected. It is not being ruled out for potential future use, but laser treatment is, for now, not a solution that is broadly available.

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What does the future hold for acne sufferers?

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Information

There are plans constantly afoot to develop a “silver bullet” in the fight against acne, and these plans are getting closer incrementally, perhaps a day at a time. The latest plan to be seen as a potential winning blow in the battle is a vaccine tested on mice in 2008 which has had reported good results. As yet there is no definitive proof that this vaccine would be effective in preventing acne in humans, but there is continuing work being carried out to ensure that any discrepancies are ironed out. If the vaccine were to be perfected, scientists believe it could be the answer to many of the problems with other acne treatments.

Long term antibiotic therapy has been found to have side-effects including gastro-intestinal problems. For acne sufferers, much of the recent past has been about making a decision on what they most want to be rid of -–the acne which has blighted their lives for a considerable period of time, or the side-effects which exact such a heavy toll that they need to be taken as a fresh health problem in and of themselves. It would therefore be ideal if a vaccine could be developed which would bypass the trouble spots of other medications.

Other methods are of course constantly being considered and honed, with the inclusion of continuing efforts to create a pill that will have the positive effects of the more powerful compounds available without causing side-effects that outstrip the acne in terms of discomfort. It is a painstaking process, however, and it may yet be years before anything conclusive is announced.

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Thinking Outside The Box

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Facts

Although there are plenty of products available for the treatment of facial acne, many of them are only partially effective, and the ones that are most effective have a tendency to carry side effects that are proportionately worse than the problem they are trying to cure. There are a number of less frequently used treatments for acne which can make a major difference by working on the less widely known causes of acne breakouts. Taken together with a more conventional treatment or on their own, these treatments can make a world of difference.

Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular essential oils on the market. Its effects have been compared to those of benzoyl peroxide – one of the major pharmaceutical acne treatments. When dissolved in a cream at a rate of about 5 parts per 100, it can be applied to the skin and works a double shift both as an anti-bacterial agent and as an anti-inflammatory. It takes a little longer to work than benzoyl peroxide, but has less harsh effects on the skin, and is even used in some moisturisers.

A detox program can also have an effect that is best described as “clean inside and out”. Much of what causes acne is due to impurities within the body. Flushing these toxins out of the body allows you to take acne on from a position of strength, by denying it the conditions in which it likes to thrive. If followed by a course of vitamin and mineral supplements it can have a very strong effect on the acne vulgaris bacteria.

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Prevention is better than cure

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Facts, Featured

It is difficult to find a commercial product that will cure acne or even clear it up for a prolonged period. If you can prevent acne from growing on your skin in the first place, this is a far more effective way of dealing with the issue. There are numerous things you can do to aid this, and some of the most effective of these are as follows:

  • Wash your face twice a day. Do not scrub, and do not use a harsh cleanser. These practices will simply cause your acne to get worse instead of better.
  • Wash towels and pillowcases regularly. These can harbor bacteria and are regularly close to your skin.
  • Get regular exercise. This increases blood circulation and allows your skin to get a regular supply of oxygen. This is a doubly good way to prevent acne, as it is a stress reliever.
  • After the exercise, take a shower. Sweat is one of the major causes of grime which can get trapped in pores and cause acne
  • Keep your hair clean and away from your face, especially while you are sleeping. The hair catches all manner of grime simply by being so dense, and also has its own natural oil supply. For the same reason, try to avoid using gels which will replicate the oils you are trying to minimise around your face.
  • Drink plenty of water. This helps detoxify the body and hydrates the skin, which allows dead skin to fall away and be replaced by smooth, blemish-free skin.

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Home Acne Remedies

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Acne Tips

Although there is a big market for specific acne treatments, and it continues to grow, there is no product currently available that will fully clear the problem up on its own without having major side effects. As has been shown by clinical studies, there are dangers involved in taking any of the most effective medication for the problem of acne vulgaris. The best strategy is to take a holistic approach designed to deal with the internal problems which cause the external breakouts, and deal with the problems externally as they occur.

There are, however, some home remedies which will suffice as short-term measures to deal with the external problems. One of these is white vinegar. Available freely in any supermarket and a staple product in many kitchens, it can be used as a facial application. After washing your face with mild soap, apply the vinegar using a cotton ball and leave it to sit for ten minutes before rinsing it off. If you have sensitive skin, beware the strength of the vinegar, and water it down if you have concerns.

Steaming your face is also a worthwhile pursuit in clearing the skin of any impurities. By pouring a kettle full of freshly boiled tap water into a basin, then adding a few drops of essential oil, you can create a steam bath by putting a towel over your head and placing your head a safe distance above the steam after five minutes, you should then wash your face with cold water to rinse away any impurities which have seeped out, and help close the pores.

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