Almost every teen at some point or another has to deal with acne, pimples, zits, etc. Acne affects about 80% of all Americans between ages 12 to 44. More than 20 million teenagers suffer from acne. With a zillion over-the-counter remedies it can be difficult to determine what's best for you. When many teens look in the mirror the first thing they see is the zit on their nose. Fortunately, the zit on your nose is not the first thing most other people see when looking at you. Also, before judging someone on the bases of their acne, remember... Although proper skin care is important when treating acne, acne is more a result of overactive oil glands than uncleanliness. Many women have premenstrual acne flare-ups caused by the release of hormones after ovulation.

How acne works

The oil glands in your skin (also called sebaceous glands) normally produce a fatty oil known as sebum, to lubricate your hair and skin. When hormone levels rise, as they do during puberty and just before menstruation, the oil glands secrete more sebum. This sebum empties into your pores and leaks out over the surrounding skin, causing the surface of your skin to become oily. Pores can become clogged by sebum. If the clogged pores have no opening to the surrounding air, they will form a whitehead. If the clogged pores are exposed to the surrounding air, then the sebum and skin pigments are oxidized and turn black producing a blackhead.

If the blackhead isn't removed more sebum builds up in the gland's duct. Bacteria infect this area causing your immune system to fight back. White blood cells attack the bacteria. The resulting casualties, including dead bacteria and dead white blood cells, begin to collect in the form of puss. As the volume of puss increases, it exerts pressure on the surrounding skin causing a pimple to bulge from the surface of the skin. In a serious case, this pimple can progress to form a thick lump beneath the surface of your skin, called a cyst, which can result in scarring.

Factors that may contribute to acne

  • Heredity
  • Oily skin
  • Hormonal imbalance as in puberty or just before your menstrual period
  • Allergies such as those to hormones found in dairy products
  • Stress
  • Certain drugs such as steroids, cortisone, lithium, birth control pills and some drugs used to treat epilepsy
  • Diets high in saturated fats and hydrogenated fats
  • Industrial pollutants such as car oil
  • Hot humid weather
  • Salt Water: Wash with fresh water immediately after taking a dip in the sea.

Stopping the zits

  • Clean the face with soap 2 times a day, washing with hot water and rinsing with cold water, to close up the pores upon rinsing. Avoid vigorous scrubbing which can overstimulate the glands in your skin.
  • Clean your hair daily to keep the oil from brushing onto your face
  • Keep things away from your face: pull your hair back, don't rest the telephone on your cheek, anything that rubs your face can give you pimples.
  • Shower 1 to 2 times a day, using antibacterial and abrasive soap and use a back brush or rough cloth to scrub your back, shoulders, and neck
  • Girls should use a non-oily water-based or medicated makeup. If you really want to get hard core, wash your makeup brushes and sponges by dipping and swishing them in alcohol after use.
  • Use a comedo extractor only to remove blackheads available from surgical supply stores or possibly from drugstores and pharmacies.
  • Do not pick at, pop or squeeze your pimples! This can cause the puss in your pimples to be shot deeper into your facial tissue, possibly causing a nasty infection and scarring.
  • Guys, don't use a electric razor to shave. Only blades will do.
  • 15 minutes of sunshine a day can help dry those suckers up. Baking in the sun for long periods of time is not recommended as it could lead to skin cancer.
  • If your acne is severe, and doesn't respond to over-the-counter treatments or the above guidelines, then consult a dermatologist.


No foods have been proven scientifically to cause acne. However, most nutritionists will agree with the following:

  • Eat a high fiber diet to clean the colon of toxins
  • Raw almonds, beets and cashews help clear and heal the skin
  • Fruit contains nutrition and water to help the skin
  • Shellfish, soybeans, whole grains, sunflower seeds and a small amount of raw nuts will supply the zinc you need to destroy bacteria
  • At least 8 glasses of water per day will flush toxins from your body
  • Steer clear of alcohol and limit butter, caffeine, cheese, fat, chocolate, fried foods, soft drinks, etc.
  • In other words eat healthy!
  • Low-fat yogurt will supply you with the normal intestinal bacteria you need for efficient digestion.

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Related Info

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