Above: Image © piccerella, iStockphoto.com

There is nothing more frustrating than waking up the day of a special event to discover a big red pimple right on your face! Affecting more than 70 per cent of young adults, acne is the bane of many a teenager’s existence.

To ward off the zits, check out a holistic approach to diet, topical treatments and cleansers.

Did You Know?
Acne is a result of hormonal, inflammatory and bacterial issues. Scientists haven’t yet agreed on a cause for our pimples.

Acne is a complex problem with three components. The first is oil. Every pore on your body is connected to a sebaceous gland, a microscopic gland in the skin that secretes oil. Sometimes, these glands go haywire and produce too much oil. This can be where acne starts.

With all this oil, your pores become a breeding ground for bacteria. This is Propionobacterium acnes, the acne bacteria. With these guys in town, there’s bound to be trouble.

Dead skin cells are the third step in the development of acne. Once they combine with the excess oil, they form a plug in the pore. Now, you’ve got an oily, plugged up pore that is brimming with bacteria — and voila — you’ve got yourself a zit.

Did You Know?
You are shedding 30,000-40,000 dead skins cells every minute.

There is no simple fix for acne. Despite what some acne medication companies want you to believe, topical treatments alone might not do the trick. To give your skin a fighting chance, you can look into methods to help stop each of the three steps in its tracks.

Did You Know?
Squeezing and popping a pimple will only causes it to become more red and inflamed. Doing so will also spread the bacteria and oils to other parts of your face.

How can you stop excess oil production? Two words: eat well. Often, extra oil is produced because of hormones called androgens. The food we eat can stimulate hormone production, so a healthy diet is key to keeping oil at a normal level.

A tip for girls: Wear oil-free makeup. This kind of makeup is less likely to cause pore buildup. Also, remember to remove your makeup nightly and cleanse with an acne-fighting medicine to remove dirt, oil and makeup from deep within the skin.

There are many topical treatments whose job it is to kill acne bacteria. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you decide which product may be right for you.

Finally, don’t forget to exfoliate! Scrubbing your skin gently with an exfoliating pad or washcloth will help get rid of dead skin cells and reduce the chance for 'plugs'.

Learn More!

In depth look at the different types of acne

More about acne and your diet


Human Skin, via Discovery Kids

Acne Science

What Causes Acne?

The Clear Skin Diet – Alan C. Logan & Valori Treloar

Article first published on August 6, 2010.

Jessica Morrison

I am a children's author, zoologist and artist. You can find me online at www.about.me/jessmorrison or chat with me on Twitter! I'm @earthwards!

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