What Are The Causes Of Acne And What Can Be Done About It?
Acne affects many men and is among the most widespread medical conditions in the world. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not just a teenage nightmare but a common problem among men. There are a number of reasons why acne occurs, many of which are out of our control. The following are the five main reasons:
Hormones - adolescent males start to produce testosterone, a potent hormone that increases the production of oil - sebum on the skin. Once sebum production increases, it can build up in hair ducts and pores, producing inflammation, swelling and the formation of bacteria.
Diet - this is a contentious point as many believe high levels of fat and sugar in one's diet can bring about acne whilst others, including many in the medical community, dispute this. What is clear is that one's diet may affect hormone levels and therefore could cause acne indirectly.
Stress - studies have shown that long periods of stress can increase skin problems since anxiety imbalances hormone levels.
Medication - certain drugs including androgens, lithium and barbiturates are known to cause acne. If you are taking regular medication, it may be advisable to consult your GP or pharmacist to find out more information.
Sun - some individuals have outbreaks after periods of continuous sun exposure.
Now that the five main reasons behind acne have been highlighted, what are the most effective means of combating them? For those who have severe acne, it is advisable to consult your GP or a qualified dermatologist to discuss your options. However, there are a variety of things that you can do and treatments you can follow if your condition is not particularly serious or if you would like to try a few things before seeking further advice. We have highlighted some of these options below:
Facial Wash - Cleansing Bars - Shower Gels
Always keep your skin clean and try to control excess oil. The face should be washed twice a day with a facial wash or cleansing bar. If time is of the essence, cleanse whilst in the shower or before shaving in the morning to remove impurities and soften the beard. Before going to bed, wash your face again to remove surface pollution, dirt and grime. The rest of the body should also be thoroughly cleansed at least once a day, particularly if you are involved in a great deal of physical activity or sport. Whilst perspiration is very good for the skin and the body generally, you must shower or bathe shortly after any intense physical activity as it can lead to blocked pores.
Facial and Body Scrubs - Exfoliators
It is important to exfoliate the skin, particularly the face, using a good quality scrub at least twice a week. As the skin produces cells that continually renew themselves, exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells that build up on the skins surface. Scrubs gently buff away impurities and dead surface cells with the tiny particles that are contained in them help to stimulate skin renewal and revitalise the complexion without any redness or flaking. They also help to release in-grown hairs and are ideal to use before shaving. Body scrubs should be used on the rest of the body, particularly on the back and chest.
Using a facial mask is an ideal way to tighten, tone, and clarify the face as it dissolves dead cells and removes pore-clogging debris on the skin's surface. A facial mask should be used 1-2 times a week, preferably in the evening. Simply apply a thin layer on the face, let it dry to a flaky crust, and rinse off with warm water.
Acne Gels - Topical Lotions
Despite keeping the skin clean and eliminating all impurities through the steps above, it is possible that the occassional spot or pimple may occur. A simple gel or topical lotion will help to correct this breakout and eliminate the bacteria.
Contrary to popular myth, good quality moisturisers shouldn't make your face or the rest of your body oily nor will they cause you to breakout in spots. As a result of temperature extremes, electric heating, lack of humidity, UV rays, pollutants in the air and wind, your skin has to endure a lot of daily punishment and can become dry, itchy and flaky as a result. Moisturising your skin, particularly your face, on a daily basis will help promote hydration, skin cell regeneration, healing, and prevent damaging effects from external forces and weather conditions that lead to premature wrinkles, fine lines, and, in extreme cases, skin cancer. Below, we've included a selection of moisturisers that, depending on skin type - What is my skin type?, will help to re-balance and address any dryness, itchiness or flakiness you may experience.
One of the best over-the-counter products available to combat most forms of acne is based on a proprietary blend of the highest quality Chinese herbs. Available in store, AcnEase has been studied in clinical trials for the treatment of common and adolescent acne and depending on the severity of the symptoms may produce noticeable results within two weeks. General improvement in blackheads, spots, rashes and redness may be realised within one month of treatment.
Eating a wide range of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds has been found to be beneficial to those suffering from acne. Always try and buy the freshest food you can, and choose organic where possible. Cooking often destroys many of the required nutrients and enzymes essential for digestion and absorption. Where you do cook food, cook it for the minimum time possible and choose quick stir fries and light steaming over boiling, baking or grilling. It is also imperative to drink plenty of water.
If your problem persists but you feel hesitant about seeing your GP or dermatologist, Gentlemen's Tonic has several complete lines of acne treatments in store that can be used in conjunction with the procedures listed above.