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Alternative Medicine, Nutrition, and Acne

Acne is an inflammatory skin disease that affects the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Acne lesions are papules, pustules, nodules, or even cysts, which occur most often on the face, and neck, although it is not uncommon for acne lesions to occur on the chest, shoulders, and back.

Acne is the result of hair follicles that have become blocked with keratin and sebum from the sebaceous gland. This environment encourages the growth of bacteria known as propionibacterium. This bacterium multiplies slowly causing acne lesions and inflammation.

Acne is most common among adolescents; in fact, about eighty five percent of all adolescents will have some acne during puberty. Severe cases of acne can lead to low self-esteem, depression or suicide attempts, especially among teenagers.

Although the cause of acne is unknown, it is a myth that acne is a hygiene issue. Some suggested causes of acne might be hormones, family history, hyperactive sebaceous glands, an accumulation of dead skin cells, bacteria in pores, or even anabolic steroid use.

Treatment options for acne may include over-the-counter products such as benzoyl peroxide or even common anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen (inflammation reduction). However, antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin, or clindamycin in topical or oral forms are often used to treat acne. In more recent times, topical retinoids such as Retin-A, Differin, and Tazorac, and oral retinoids such as Accutane or Sotret have been useful in treating moderate to severe acne cases.

Of course, some individuals with acne have chosen to use more natural or alternative treatment methods such as the use of zinc (reduces inflammation), Azeliac acid (mild acne), tea tree oil (topical use is similar to benzoyl peroxide but has less of a drying affect upon the skin), nicontinaide (vitamin b3 topical gel), or even herbal remedies such as aloe vera, aruna, tumeric, or papaya.

A variety of sources indicate that the following micronutrients, supplements, and/or herbs may potentially be helpful for this condition. However, it may be wise to consult with your physician prior to taking nutritional supplements and this is certainly recommended for individuals with a diagnosed condition, particularly those who take prescribed medication.

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