Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Acne Woes

What are the different acne types?

Acne is a common condition affecting the pilosebaceous unit(structural unit of oil glands and hair follicles)in the skin. It can be broadly divided into comedonal(whiteheads and blackheads) and inflammatory(red bumps, Fluid and pus-filled bumps) types. Teenagers have the highest incidence of acne. Adults develop acne too although it is oftern less severe and frequent.

What causes acne?

Excessive oil production (sometimes related to excess male hormones especially during puberty, over-production of hormones by abnormal ovarian cysts and hormonal changes during menses), blockage of oil gland pores, presence of acne-causing bacteria(propionibacterium acnes), and inflammation (cellular reaction of the body to the bacterial action on the oil).

How can we prevent it?

Firstly, underlying conditions causing the acne should be treated. Secondly, it is useful to apply a vitamin A-derivative topical to the skin at night to prevent acne formation. Thirdly, remove excessive oil with soap (preferably containing salicylic acid), toner and facial blotters.

What are the present acne treatments?

Topical medication, antibiotics, oral contraceptive(females only), oral retinoids(vitamin A derivative) and phototherapy.

Phototherapy is a new treatment. Blue light is shone on the inflamed ares. /the light activates the porphyrin present in the acne-causing bacteria, resulting in the release of singlet oxygen to destroy the bacteria.

What are the ingredients in facial products that we should avoid?

Cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate, industrial quality mineral oil, industrial quality petrolatum and vegetable oil are all comedogenic (acne aggravators). Anyone prone to developing acne should only use cosmetics and products that has been properly tested and labeled "non-comedogenic".

Provide some tips on acne skincare.

Some acne cleansers (especially those with salicylic acid) and acne topicals can be drying and somewhat irritating. If one is affected by these, it will be helpful to apply a bland non-comedogenic moisturizer about half an hour after topical medication.

Ladies who use makeup should inform the doctor about what they use, so their doctor can prescribe an appropriate formulation of the topical and advise on the right sequence to apply.

Men who sweat a lot and have oilier skin may need to cleanse their faces more than twice a day. Their acne medication should preferably be in the form of a gel or solution. If the oil is cosmetically disturbing, they can use a mattifying moisturizer about half an hour after applying the acne medication.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Acne Treatment, in a Shell

From the depths of the ocean comes a product that few have considered as a possible treatment for acne. However sitting there in it's shell on the bottom of the ocean, the oyster possesses some remarkable properties that can have a marked effect on the progression of acne and other skin disorders. Fresh oysters are of course delicious but are hard to get and are not to every ones liking. Oyster extract offers a way to get all the benefits without the oral sensation.

The reason for this is because the oyster has very high levels of key trace elements and bioactive enzymes, which can be very useful in the treatment of acne. One of these is zinc. Not just any zinc, like the synthetic zinc supplements one finds in the health food store or pharmacy, but natural, organic, bio available zinc. And not just zinc alone, but zinc with co-factors like copper, manganese and selenium. All bound in protein structures which make them highly bio available.

Do not underestimate the bio availability issue. Zinc uptake is greatest in the jejunum, which is the part of the intestine directly after the stomach. However for uptake to occur the zinc must first bind to active transport molecules. For synthetic zinc this is a problem, but for zinc from an oyster it is not, as that zinc is already bound to these transport molecules and ready for uptake. This raises certain issues about the efficacy of synthetic zinc supplements.

So why is this zinc so important I hear you say eagerly? Zinc plays a key role in almost 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Many of these happen in the skin. For example, zinc enzymes control the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, both of which keep it supple and young looking. For acne sufferers the major issues are the flare-ups and the scarring.

Acne is caused when pores get clogged and sebum production runs riot. The ensuing infection is what causes the redness and soreness. The scarring can be permanent in severe cases. Zinc helps in several ways.

1. Zinc controls the production of vitamin B6. This vitamin in turn helps regulate the production of sebum.

2. Zinc stimulates the immune system to produce thymulin with activates T-cells and T4 helper cells. These can help fight any infections, which might be threatening in an infected follicle.

3. If a flare up has occurred, zinc can reduce scarring as it is essential for new cell growth and it is involved in many enzymes, which regulate tissue repair and tissue regeneration.

So how do you know if you are zinc deficient? The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of Western society may suffer from mild zinc deficiency. It is caused mainly by poor nutrition and certain groups can be more prone than others can. Athletes loose more zinc through sweat than normal people and should therefore be careful about zinc supplementation. Sexually active males, alcoholics and the elderly are also groups that have a higher incidence of zinc deficiency than normal. However poor nutrition and processed foods depleted of micronutrients are the biggest culprits. This is a big problem nowadays as corporate agriculture and corporate food processors are more concerned about profits and less concerned about nutrient availability in the products they create.

The solution is to seek out fresh ingredients and try to have a healthy diet. Think Slow Food not Fast Food. Taking a good zinc supplement is also wise if you suspect you are zinc deficient. Oyster extract is by far one of the best forms of zinc supplement available on the market today. However, beware of cheap products that come from countries with dubious records on environmental quality. Oysters must be grown in clean waters and the process must be conscious of preserving the key elements in high concentrations to be effective.

Some oyster extracts can have 20-30 times less zinc than others as they process the oysters not for nutrient concentrations but for bulk yields and profits. The bulkier extracts can be high in glycogen but low in the micronutrients that can aid acne treatment. Much research has been carried out on zinc and acne and the results are very encouraging. If you wish to try an oyster extract find one that is high in zinc and be prepared to pay that little extra for the extra benefits you'll receive. Lastly, try to remember that oyster extract is not just the best form zinc supplement you can take, it is a whole food supplement that contains 59 trace elements, vitamins, amino acids and omega 3 & 6 fish oils. Quite a big offering from the little oyster.

Stephen Kavanagh is a Marine Biologist and nutrition activist. His company, Gaia Biotechnology Ltd. is developing a range of bio active whole food supplements. To learn more about the most potent oyster extract powder available, zinc deficiency, zinc supplements, the benefits of zinc therapy or to try the product visit: http://www.oystermax.com

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Acne Cure - Natural Tips That Help Rid Acne in Under a Week

Acne can be a psychologically damaging health condition which destroys confidence and self-esteem, and with the many choices available for treating it, confusion or indecision on what to do can occur. In this article we'll explore some natural tips that you can use to clear up your skin and regain your sense of well-being in a short period of time.

Food - Fried foods and harsh fat or oil based foods are known to cause the excess sebum that leads to acne. For this reason a change in your diet is a good idea and will make a big difference if you currently eat these kinds of foods.

Water - Drinking enough good quality water is another important nutritional requirement for any natural acne cure and so making a good effort to drink 2 liters a day will help tremendously. The water will help flush out impurities from the system that otherwise often end up as acne.

Coffee and Tea - These two popular drinks are diuretics, which means they increase the rate of excretion of water and so can cause chronic dehydration. Limit yourself to one or two cups a day if you're a tea or coffee drinker, and increase your intake of water to make up for the extra water loss these drinks cause. Cutting out tea and coffee can often have profound effects on skin health.

Tea Tree Oil - This natural antiseptic and antifungal is good as a topical application for acne and has shown that it reduces inflammation externally. This helps the skin heal faster and acne won't be as inflamed or cystic when using this topical. Generally topicals aren't worth using and water will usually suffice, but tea tree oil is one of the better ones.

Vegetable Juices - Nutrient intake is an important factor in treating acne from the inside, and one of the best ways to get lots of quality nutrients is to drink vegetable juices. These can be found in supermarkets or you can make them yourself with a juicer and raw vegetables.

Good oils - Hormonal balancing can be attained with the use of fish oils and evening primrose oils. These healthy oils are full of essential fatty acids and one of their primary functions is to help balance hormones. Hormones are a primary cause of acne and so taking these oils can greatly help.

This has been a good summary of some of the more popular natural ways you can clear up your acne, although you may want a more comprehensive natural system.

David Rambai is an ex-acne sufferer and expert on how to cure acne naturally. David invites you to try out his online acne system to get clear skin.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Acne - Why Does it Affect Emotionally?

Acne affects most of the teenagers emotionally. Some of them get so badly affected that they stop making social interactions. They begin hating their face but since they cannot get away from their own face they find themselves in an impossible situation. Every acne specialist advises that acne should not be popped, but almost every teenager pops it. the reason is simple. They want to get away from that ugly spot immediately. Why does acne affect the teenagers so badly?

Was acne an issue in the earlier ages? Is acne an issue in the societies where people still live in primitive conditions? Let us think about that. The desire to look good is inherent in all of us. That's is nature's way of proceeding with the specie. Nature wants that males and females get attracted and produce more of their kind so that the specie survives and grows. The desire to look good is inherited since ages. That is the only way to attract the opposite sex. In modern world the stress on other personality factors is increasing but you will still rarely see a celebrity who does not look good.

We are all attracted towards good things in life. You may be given some food that may be very nourishing but does not smell good. Will you eat that happily? No, because our senses are genetically designed to get attracted towards what pleases them. A beautiful sight pleases the eyes, the ears by a beautiful sound and the nose by beautiful smell. No matter how much we justify the value of things that are not pleasing; we will not get attracted towards them.

That is our reality as an animal. We are all essentially animals and behave the way we have been designed since ages. We cannot change our reactions easily. Our instincts make us behave in a certain way no matter how philosophical we become about that. That is the simple reason why acne affects teenagers so badly. They dislike that instinctively and can not tolerate it.

This article is only for informative purposes. This article is not intended to be a medical advise and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor for your medical concerns. Please follow any tip given in this article only after consulting your doctor. The author is not liable for any outcome or damage resulting from information obtained from this article.

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