About 70-90% of adolescents get acne. Acne is characterized by red scaly eruptions or small red boils that are filled with pus. The surge of testosterone that occurs in adolescents, regardless of sex, is what triggers acne. Acne normally lasts till about 25 years of age by which time hormone imbalances get sorted out and the skin settles down. Acne is often seen on the upper back and on the upper chest. Acne can cause severe scarring especially on the face. A severe case of acne can lead to loss of self-esteem in adolescence. Adolescence is a stressful time as it is and the presence of acne can lead to emotional scarring. There are instances where youngsters have suffered from clinical depression as a result of acne.
More On Acne
Acne occurs when pores and follicles are blocked by sebum that mixes with dead cells and dirt. When pores are blocked there is a build-up of bacteria and skin eruptions occur. When acne is picked, the sores open and bacteria enters making the condition worse. Open acne causes scarring that is permanent. Some of the scars are red in color. Individuals who are predisposed to keloid will have bad scarring. A worsening of acne is seen during the menstrual cycle and puberty. Acne is linked to the sex hormone called androgen. Androgen triggers extra production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. More oil on the skin leads to worsening of acne.
Diet And Acne
The relationship between diet and acne has not been fully established but a diet that is high on the glycemic index is known to trigger an outbreak. Chocolate and salt are also said to cause an outbreak but this again has not been fully supported by research. There is also a link between obesity and acne but research on this is ongoing so conclusions cannot yet be drawn. Vigorous activity and plenty of fresh air is said to be beneficial in controlling acne. Moving around ensures better lymphatic drainage that removes secretions from the epidermis. Being overweight is one of the triggers for acne, so exercise will only do good generally.
Conventional treatment centers on benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, antibiotics, hormones and topical and oral retinoids. Many of these have shown good results but most have unpleasant side effects like redness, irritation, nosebleeds, dryness etc. Many sufferers of acne prefer to seek out alternative remedies as these do not have side effects. Alternative medications are mostly herb based. They are mild and need a longer period of use before positive results become obvious. Results vary from person to person as they are not standardized. Even so they are very popular with people who would rather not take chances with chemical medication. Medication which has hormones can play havoc in a person’s body.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is plant that is a succulent and the gel that flows from a cut leaf has been used with great success by people who suffer from acne. So what exactly is aloe vera? It is succulent that was limited to the Saharan area during its early history. Increasing desertification meant that it all but disappeared from its place of origin. It is not known to grow anywhere in a naturalized form existing only as a cultivar. There are many kinds of aloes seen but the one that holds medical promise is aloe vera. It is now extensively cultivated all over the world though it must be protected during extreme cold temperature as it does not survive heavy snowfall.
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Getting The Gel Out
Aloe vera’s leaves are thick and fleshy and range from green to grey or brown. When the leaves are cut, a clear gel oozes out. To get larger quantities of gel, it is better to lay the leaf flat and slice it open width-ways and scoop out the gel. Many cosmetic companies use aloe vera in their products. It is also smeared directly on the face to control and cure acne. When the colorless gel is applied of the face, it forms a film that is slightly yellow. The film should be allowed to dry unhindered. People who have used aloe vera gel for the first time talk of seeing improvement with the very first application.
How Does The Gel Work?
Aloe vera Gel is able to control acne as it contains the plant hormones called gibberellins and polysaccharides which destroy the bacteria that cause acne. Aloe vera is a natural astringent that removes excess oil from the skin. When there is less oil on the surface, less dirt adheres to the skin. The excess oil clogs the pores and the follicles giving rise to eruptions that turn into acne. Apart from acne, it also causes blackheads which are unsightly and also enlarged pores later in life. Aloe vera stimulates new cell growth leading to faster healing. Faster healing means lesser chance of scarring. Scars usually appear when healing is delayed.
Even if you do not have acne, you can protect your face by applying a face pack of aloe vera. Remove all traces of makeup and wash your face using mild soap. Pat dry and apply a coat of fresh gel straight from the aloe leaf. Let the gel dry and leave on for an hour or better still, overnight. In the morning, wash it off using cool water. A few weeks of this treatment and you can see distinct improvement.
More Ways To Use Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera can be mixed with lemon juice or honey according to your requirement. If your skin is naturally oily, adding few drops of lemon juice will help to cut the grease on the face. It will also help to lighten scars. Honey on the other hand, is a humectant that will help the skin conserve moisture. Aloe vera is not all about acne removal. It is a great conditioner for skin too. It also helps heal burns. The gel dries leaving a film over the burn that bacteria cannot attack. Under this protective coating, healing takes place. Aloe vera is very easy to grow. A single plant can fill a pot in no time.