Acne is one of the most common skin conditions affecting teenagers and young adults in Canada between the ages of 13 and 30. It occurs when the body produces an excess amount of an oily substance known as sebum, causing the hair follicles of the skin to become plugged. Once these follicles become plugged, bacteria then begins to thrive which results in inflammation and the formation of pimples – known as acne.
Certain factors, as outlined below by Vancouver physician, Dr. Ali Ghahary, can also contribute to acne.
This is due to the increase in androgens that cause the sebaceous glands to become enlarged and produce too much sebum. Hormonal changes as a result of pregnancy can also affect how much sebum the body produces, in addition to the use of oral contraceptives.
Corticosteroids and lithium, as well as other drugs, have been known to trigger or worsen acne. If you are concerned about a medication you are taking and suspect that it may be contributing to an acne problem, it is important to discuss those concerns with your physician or pharmacist.
It’s always important to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. By eating a healthy diet you not only lessen your risk of developing many diseases, but it is also great if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a weight that is healthy. For more information on the benefits of healthy eating, visit Dr. Ali Ghahary’s blog here. As for how a diet can affect acne, studies have shown that carbohydrates such as breads and potato chips, as well as certain dairy products and chocolate, can actually trigger acne. Eating foods that are low in carbohydrates and cutting out dairy and sugar will help you avoid acne flare-ups.
Those who experience anxiety tend to develop acne or have their acne worsen as a result, though researchers aren’t exactly sure why. On the contrary, having acne can also cause stress and make an individual feel insecure about their appearance. That being said, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends reducing stress as much as possible. One great way to do this is by exercising regularly – and it doesn’t even have to be strenuous. Going for a 30 minute walk or doing yoga can help calm the mind. In cases where stress and anxiety is more severe, Dr. Ali Ghahary may recommend prescription medication in addition to outpatient therapy with a counsellor, psychiatrist and/or clinical psychologist. If stress and anxiety remains untreated, you are at an increased risk of developing depression or other mental illness’.
Along with treating some of the aforementioned underlying conditions, acne can also be treated by using special cleansers that are specially designed and recommended by dermatologists. Many cosmetic companies also offer acne-specific products. If the acne is severe and no other treatment methods have helped, Dr. Ali Ghahary may also prescribe topical creams and oral antibiotics such as tetracycline or clindamycin.