Treatment and Prevention of Acne
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/22/2006 | Self Improvement
Is it possible to prevent acne? Most people would not even consider asking the question unless they were troubled by this disease in the first place, so it is not really a matter of preventing acne from occurring at all, but of curing it first, then preventing its return.
Much advice in the western world declares that diet is not a factor in causing acne, yet those who live in some other countries are not affected by the condition. Whether this is an inherited factor, or caused by diet has not been decided yet.
There are many who now believe that diet does play a large part in bringing on acne, while there are just as many, or perhaps even more who believe that junk food, chocolate and foods high in sugar and fats have nothing to do with acne. The trouble is that if you were not affected by it, you would not be motivated to modify your diet to resemble that of the eastern nations.
One thing is clear; acne is not caused by dirt. It is caused when the oil in our body is not metabolized efficiently and dead skin cells become sticky and block the pores of the skin. Bacteria then enters into the pores and causes infection and inflammation.
So what can be done to prevent this happening? It seems logical to eat less fatty foods, but our body may produce oils in any case. Hygiene helps to control it, yet acne is not caused by dirt, but by bacteria normally present on the skin. Therefore, it seems that we must try to prevent acne by using several different methods at the one time.
Zinc gluconate and some antibiotics administered orally are both effective in treating the inflammation of acne, while insulin is also reported to have worked in the same way. No big studies have been done on the latter though, so proceed cautiously with this one.
Chromium supplements appeared to have worked according to one small study, while Nicholas Perricone advises a strict diet in which dairy is almost totally avoided in his controversial book, The Acne Prescription. He also recommends topical applications of alpha lipoic acid. There was no strong scientific evidence for Perricones theories until early in 2005 when a paper was published detailing a link between acne and milk.
Research is now being done on the use of lasers for the prevention of acne. Lasers have been used to treat the scars left by really bad acne, but it is now realized that the follicle sac from which the hair grows, as well as the sebaceous gland that produces oil, can be burned away by the use of lasers. They can also be used to kill the bacteria by inducing oxygen in them. But no one has yet come up with a solution to the possible damage that the skin might suffer during these operations, so this option is a long way off.