Acne is one of the most common dermatologic problems in the world affecting millions of people worldwide. While typically, it mainly develops in teenagers, it is also seen in many adults.
The exact cause of acne is unknown, but hormonal changes seem to account for the majority of the causes. There are two types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Noninflammatory acne is characterized whiteheads and blackheads. Pimples characterize inflammatory acne.
Before we can figure out how to treat acne, we need to first learn exactly what is acne and how does it cause the symptoms that we see.
What is Acne?
Propionibacterium acnes or p acne is the bacteria that is responsible for the development of acne. P acne is a bacteria that everybody has on their skin, even if you do not have active acne. P. acne will not trigger the formation of pimples if it isn’t aggravated. The problem is, in many people, the natural environment is interrupted leading to P. acne to cause inflammation leading to pimples. If P. acne is not interrupted, it works in a symbiotic relationship, making sure to keep your skin free from colonization from other harmful bacteria. This bacteria actually feeds on the secretions of our sebaceous and sweat glands, and makes sure that our skin remains flexible and free from colonization. In the end, P. acnes can be incredibly useful for maintaining the proper environment for your skin.
The Acne Environment
The acne environment mainly forms when the normal symbiosis is thrown off due to the excretion of excessive oils and sebum from the skin. Usually, this imbalance is driven due to excess production of hormones, typically during puberty.
When blood toxins expelled through your skin mix with these oils, the P. acne can invade the hair follicles and multiply quickly. The P. acne can feed off the oils and can produce fatty acids that irritate and inflame the skin. Your body responds by sending red and white blood cells leading to an inflammatory response. This is characterized by the classic symptoms of acne: red skin, raised pimples, whiteheads, and pustules.
Why Antibiotics Can Cause More Harm Than Good
Sadly, the treatment most recommended by doctors is using antibiotics to kill the P. acne. However, this does not address the main root cause of the problem: the acne environment. Furthermore, killing off the P. acne can actually worsen the situation. The antibiotics can end up killing the good P. acne bacteria which allows other more harmful bacteria access to colonizing the skin. Additionally, long term usage of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of P. acnes. When that happens, you have acne that is now stronger and causing more damage, and cannot be stopped by antibiotics.
The best way to stop the growth of P. acnes is through neutralizing the harmful environment and restoring balance. This will ensure that your good P. acnes bacteria continue to survive and thrive in harmony with your body.
The key to targeting this environment is a multi-tiered approach. You must balance the oil production of your skin by targeting diet, your environment, your psyche, and hormones. While medication seems to be a quick and easy way to eliminate acne, it does not address the root of the problem. By engaging in a more natural approach and targeting different areas of your life: nutrition, skincare, stress, and your environment, you can make sure that you truly target the core issue and can maintain healthy skin for the long term.
I hope that this article helped give you some information about the core problem with acne, and why most people don’t see the results they want from medications. Combating acne is a long term game, and requires patience, perseverance, and dedication. Learning about exactly what is acne and how it causes the symptoms we observe is the first step in targeting the root problem. Hopefully this article is the first step you can take in addressing the root cause of your acne!