Acne Causes & Treatment Options. (Includes a Dangerous Medication Banned in the USA But Sold FREELY in Kenya) 😮
Acne, medically referred to as Acne Vulgaris, is a skin condition that affects over 60 million individuals in the United States.
At least 20% of people experience severe forms of acne and 85% of the population being affected by acne at some point in their lives.
In 🇰🇪 Kenya, these percentage numbers could be even higher. The exposure to environmental pollutants like vehicle fumes, plastics among other chemicals in Kenya could be the reason why acne is so common in Kenya.
Yes... I said Plastics & smoky lorries & Matatus... Stay tuned
💡 Tip: I sometimes put some scientific words here and there but I get it... Not all of us have medical knowledge. I will Keep It Stupid Simple (KISS). Look out for Highlighted boxed content, just like this one.
FACT: ACNE is one of the most common conditions that affect the human body. Even though acne is often associated with teenagers going through puberty, acne can still be a persistent problem in adulthood.
TIP: Teenage Acne, especially in boys, is caused by the onset of a male hormone called testosterone.
Females too produce testosterone at lower levels. This is the biggest cause of acne (over 80%) in women.
Keep reading ... how to control acne and how to know if your acne are caused by hormones or not.
While acne develops on the face in 99% of individuals, as much as 60% of individuals also experience acne breakouts in other parts of their body.
Acne not only affects a person in a physical manner but can also have psychological effects.
Can cause issues with self-esteem, social anxiety, and even depression.
🤔 Pro Tip: Have you ever noted most women (not all) with acne also have hair loss or hair thinning?
If you had not noticed that, start looking around. I will tell you more tips as we continue...
Without Addressing Testosterone, Topical Creams Won't Work.
Individuals affected by acne have several options they can opt for when they wish to undergo treatment.
Unfortunately, rarely if ever will a doctor in Kenya ever tell you the cause or the rationale for the treatment options they chose... ANNOYING!!
The problem, however, is that some of these treatment options are extremely expensive, while others may not work at all and could possibly lead to side-effects like infertility.
Why Infertility? It is not uncommon for dermatologists to put acne sufferers on birth control pills (progesterone based).
Or even worse, Accutane.
Accutane has been discontinued, and actually illegal to prescribe it in the United states.
It causes serious side effects - including miscarriage and birth defects!
Just in case you doubt if Accutane is being used in Kenya despite serious side effects, see this review about a patient who was put on the lethal Accutane for acne.
Please do not ever take Accutane for acne if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. You have better choices. Stay with me, I Explain.
USA Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) Warning Against Accutane
A more appropriate approach to the treatment of acne would be to first understand why acne develops.
Know what are the true causes of acne.
Once identified then to take an approach that targets acne from the inside out! Stop Acne in the tracts.
💡 TIP: Without addressing the internal causes, topical creams will only help for as long as you can afford them.
Once stopped, acne will re-appear. So, how do you treat the root cause? That is coming up!
Different Types Of Acne
Firstly, we want to look at the different types of acne. Once we understand their differences, it would be easier to target them based on how deep they are.
Not all acne is the same, and each type may require a different treatment approach.
A report by Informed Health Online explains that there are three primary types of acne that people should be aware of.
These include mild, moderate and severe acne. See more about acne classification.
Individuals with mild acne may experience whiteheads and blackheads, also known as comedones. Comedones are caused by skin pores that become clogged.
Blackheads appear dark as they are open pores that have been clogged, while whiteheads cause a yellow or white head to appear at the tip of the spots.
When excessive amounts of oil are present in the skin, bacteria that causes acne may also multiply, leading to the development of inflammatory acne.
Ever seen acne with pus? Pus = Infection!
Moderate acne includes the development of papules and pustules (see the image above).
These are inflamed acne pimples. Papules are small bumps on the skin. Pustules are bumps that are filled with yellowish pus.
Pus = bacterial infection
More severe forms of acne include a more significant number of pustules and papules.
Nodules may also form on the skin. Nodules tend to be more painful than other forms of acne, and often leads to scars being left behind after the acne spots have cleared up.
They form Acne Scars
Acne: What're The Real Causes?
Understanding the true underlying causes of acne is an important step to the successful treatment of acne.
Even though acne affects the skin, it is vital to understand that the cause of acne starts inside of the body.
Let's Talk More About Testosterone
A paper iii on the US National Library of Medicine explains that androgen is one particular hormone that seems to play the dominant role in the development of acne.
This hormone stimulates sebaceous glands, which is the glands that are usually clogged and leads to the development of acne spots.
The paper explains that the testosterone (androgen) hormone that has the most significant impact on acne is known as dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT.
DHT develops in the sebaceous glands. After development, the hormone binds to a receptor protein.
The research explains that an increase in DHT levels is the cause of acne.
💡Note: We now know that acne, black spots, whiteheads, cysts & pastules, all are mostly caused by an increase of a testosterone hormone called DHT.
The color & depth of a pimple is determined by the depth of infection, whether it is open or closed.
Androgens are not the only hormones that can affect the risk of developing acne in both teenagers and adults.
A study conducted by the Lady Hardinge Medical College in India found that several other hormones are elevated in the individuals who are more prone to acne breakouts.
The study took into account results reported by over 1000 different studies, and concluded that the following hormones seem to be more abundant in individuals who were at a higher risk of developing acne:
- Testosterone (all)
- Insulin-like Growth Factors
In a situation where the body has high, normal or low estrogen with little or no progesterone to balance estrogen effects, this condition is medically known as Estrogen Dominance.
Progesterone hormone balances Estrogen hormone and its effects. Imbalanced estrogen leads to overproduction of testosterone. This causes 80% of all acne!
Clear Away Acne explains that several scientific research studies have found that women going through menstruation are exposed to a drop in estrogen levels, which causes androgens to bind to the receptors that are usually bound with estrogen.
If the above paragraph is difficult to understand, it is why most women get acne before menstrual periods :-)
This, in turn, then causes the stimulation of the sebaceous glands to release of excess oil; thus leading to clogged pores and the development of acne breakouts.
Acne Natural Vs Pharmaceutical Treatment Options
There are a number of different options available in the treatment of acne.
Different treatment options are available for different levels of acne, with stronger treatments being more appropriate for individuals suffering from severe acne.
See the chart above.
Besides the deadly pharmaceutical drugs earlier discussed, some dermatologists tend to put acne sufferers on birth control pills, for goodness sake! :-(
You know why? 🤔
It is a quick fix that fixes the immediate problem for as long as you are on those damn birth control pills.
Of course, they care less if you will ever have kids. All they care about is monthly orders for birth control pills. Say no, Thank you.
Ever wondered why🤔
Because during pregnancy 🤰, progesterone levels are really high. Birth control pills that control acne has high progesterone, tricking your body that you're pregnant.
The face clears, as long as you can continue tricking your body that you are pregnant. If you ever want to get pregnant later in life, that is another story.
Now you know! 💃
See the tip above in red and remember that always, when you are dealing with acne.
Mayo Clinic explains that both topical and oral medications are needed to treat acne - True.
This may involve the application of an antibiotic cream, as well as retinoid-like or retinol cosmetics.
There are also the Alpha Hydroxyls, which unclogs the clogged pores preventing oil build-up that leads to acne.
Examples of pharmaceutical creams include Dapsone, Dermovate, Hydrocortisol, and Betamethasone all steroids.
The problem with these topical solutions is the fact that they may lead to skin dryness, redness and damage to the adrenal gland with repeat use.
This can lead to problems like diabetes and other conditions.
I highly recommend you read this scientific article about why you should not use topical steroids to treat acne.
If you cannot read it all, scroll down the article and see some pictures of what could happen with steroid creams. Tap or click pictures to enlarge.
Oral medication usually includes antibiotics as the first option. Anti-androgen drugs may be prescribed to be taken concurrently.
Women also have the option to take combined contraceptives, primarily progesterone based ones to counter the effects of unbalanced estrogen, a condition we call Estrogen Dominance.