Acne is the most common skin ailment and the most common skin disease treated by physicians. An inflammatory condition of the hair follicle that results in pustules, pimples and cysts on the skin, acne affects between 40 and 50 million people each year in the United States alone. It is estimated that 75 to 85 percent of adolescents and young adults are affected by the condition; for 3 to 12 percent of the population, it persists into middle age.
Acne is associated with an increase in androgenic hormones, which enlarge the sebaceous glands in the skin and cause these glands to increase sebum (oil) production. Because androgenic hormones surge at puberty, this is the time when most individuals begin to see the onset of the condition. Acne is most often found on the face, scalp, chest and back, areas where the greatest number of pilosebaceous glands are located.
For those who suffer from acne, the skin’s natural rhythm of oil production and sloughing of dead skin cells is not in balance as it is for those with healthy skin.
- Plugged hair follicles. In many acne sufferers, the cells that line the hair follicles do not slough or shed as they should and, instead, plug the follicle. This is caused by the presence of abnormally “sticky” cells.”
- Excess oil production. This is caused by abnormalities in sebum production.
- Bacteria. Many acne sufferers have high levels of natural skin bacteria, including propionibacterium, in particular.
- Inflammation. In response to the above issues, the skin of acne sufferers becomes inflamed, which, in itself encourages the production of more acne lesions.
While these factors can individually contribute to the development of acne, most often, they work together. The most common scenario is this:
The overactive production of oil and presence of abnormally “sticky” cells causes the hair follicle to plug. This obstructed follicle, engorged with oil and dead skin cells, thus becomes visible at the surface of the skin in the form of a white papule (whitehead). If the follicle continues to dilate, the plug becomes further exposed and turns a dark color (blackhead). At this point, the follicle becomes the ideal environment for bacteria. As the bacteria release proteins (enzymes), inflammation occurs and a red papule appears at the skin’s surface. The oil is then converted to free fatty acids that attract white blood cells to the area and further the inflammation. This is when pustules begin to form.
If the condition is allowed to worsen, the obstruction of the follicle and bacterial invasion may cause the follicle to rupture. Continuation of severe inflammation may then lead to nodules and cysts deep within the skin’s layers. These painful acne lesions have the potential to create channels between them and may lead to long-term scarring.
Additional Factors that May Cause Acne Include:
- Hormonal changes (e.g., puberty, women’s menstrual cycles)
- A family history of acne
- Repeated, localized skin friction (as is common in violinists)
- Below normal levels of vitamin A
- Certain medications
- Certain occupational exposures
Several medications have been shown to trigger acne outbreaks or aggravate existing cases of acne. However, it is common for the condition that the medication is treating to be a source of stress to the individual. Given the potential for stress to negatively impact health, thus contributing to acne, physicians are often uncertain if the medication itself is responsible for the outbreak. Therefore, if you are taking a prescription and develop or see an increase in acne, do not stop taking the medication. Rather, consult your physician to determine if an alternative treatment may be prescribed. In cases where the medication is the only viable treatment solution, it is necessary to simply treat the acne instead of ceasing administration of medication. Acne may be a psychological strain but it is not dangerous and will not affect your physical well-being.
Potential Acne-Inducing Medications Include:
- Sobriety Medications
- Anabolic Steroids
- Thyroid Medications
Acne may also develop as an allergic reaction to one’s diet. While diet is not a direct factor in the development of acne, the ingredients in certain foods may cause allergic reactions, including acne breakouts, in some individuals.
Foods that Have Been Linked to Acne Include:
Among the main ingredients in beer is yeast. For those with yeast allergies, beer is recognized by the body as a toxin and, depending upon the severity of the allergy, consumption may cause acne to develop. The severity of the outbreak is dependent upon the body’s sensitivity to yeast.
In a 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that those who drank three or more cups of milk a day were 22 percent more likely to experience severe acne compared with those who drank less than one serving each week. The study showed an even stronger correlation between acne and the consumption of skim milk, in particular. The study’s author suggested that hormones and bioactive molecules present in milk are responsible for exacerbating acne.
Recent studies have shown that the glycemic level of foods may play a role in the development or cessation of acne. Foods with high glycemic levels, including white bread and potatoes, cause a rapid surge in blood sugar and may augment the biological activity of sex hormones and Insulin-like growth factor 1, leading to the development of acne. Conversely, low glycemic load diets that contain more whole grains and produce, have been shown to reduce the presence of acne.
For decades, several factors were commonly accepted as causes of acne. However, research in recent years has either disproven the correlation between these factors and acne, or failed to prove a link. Among the more prevalent myths relative to the causes of acne are:
Acne is not caused by poor hygiene and cannot be remedied by excessive scrubbing or washing. There is no correlation between acne severity and skin bacteria numbers.
The notion that eating chocolate or greasy foods will cause acne has been passed down for decades; yet, no evidence exists to support this claim. The caveat to this statement is that those with milk allergies (lactose intolerance) may react to the milk found in chocolate. In this case, chocolate has the potential to cause acne as the body interprets the presence of milk as a toxin.
The relationship between acne and stress remains controversial. Most studies do not support a correlation. However, stress may interfere with sleep quality and general health, which may indirectly influence acne.
Makeup does not have the capacity to directly cause acne. However, some makeup products may dry out the skin, which increases its susceptibility to develop acne. For this reason, it is recommended that individuals always use makeup products that are classified as non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic.
Repeated exposure to steam may worsen acne by increasing inflammation but it does not cause it. Occasional steaming to remove comedones is acceptable.
In developing the Lexli Acne Treatment Kit , Dr. Ahmed Abdullah considered the four causes of acne and the known treatments for each. His goal was to develop a system that utilized the highest quality herbal and bioactive agents to not only control acne breakouts, but to also help eliminate the condition. Today, the Lexli Acne Treatment Kit is the only system that targets the four causes of acne, making it the most potent and focused acne treatment available.
Specifically, the Lexli Acne Treatment Kit is designed to:
Help normalize the skin by controlling overactive oil production. The combination of products in the kit aid in the sloughing of dead skin cells, while controlling bacteria. Salicylic acid and witch hazel are used to remove oily residue from the skin and hair follicles.
Prevent plugging of the hair follicles with the abnormally sticky cells. Key ingredients, including benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid are used to promote the sloughing of abnormally sticky cells, thereby keeping follicles free of blockages.
Reduce bacterial infection. The Lexli Acne Treatment Kit includes effective anti-bacterial ingredients, including benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and aloe vera.
Reduce inflammation. Aloe vera is key to the Lexli Acne Treatment Kit’s ability to calm inflammation. As the base ingredients of the products in the Kit, aloe is an excellent vehicle, carrying other active ingredients in the formulations to the site of skin healing. Additionally, it helps to counter the potential for dry skin, a factor commonly associated with acne treatments.
During the first one to two weeks of using the Lexli Acne Treatment Kit, it is not uncommon to experience sudden acne breakouts . This is caused by the sloughing of dead sticky cells from the skin and will eventually subside.
Other Ways to Accelerate Acne Healing:
- Drink lots of water.
- Maintain a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Utilize non-comedogenic makeup.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure and regularly utilize sunscreen.