Acne: From Acne Causes to Acne Treatments
Understanding the cause of acne is the first step toward treating it. Unfortunately, there’s no single cause and no simple answer. Acne can affect teenagers, adults, even newborn babies, and a variety of factors contribute to acne in each case. Read on to explore acne causes and take a look at the issues involved for each group.
- Many of the Web sites on acne are trying to sell a product and therefore aren’t likely to provide unbiased, medically sound information. AcneNet, a Web site of the American Academy of Dermatology, is an excellent educational resource that provides credible information tailored for a general audience. For that reason, the AcneNet Web site appears several times throughout this guide.
- The sites included here can help you dispel myths about acne, such as the idea that eating greasy foods or chocolate causes acne (studies show that no specific foods cause acne) or that only teenagers get acne (plenty of adult men and women get acne, too, and adult women are more prone to acne than men).
- Be sure not to confuse rosacea (sometimes called acne rosacea) with acne. Rosacea is a skin disease involving the blood vessels in the face and occurs most commonly in adults ages 30 to 50. For more information on rosacea, visit MedicineNet.com.
Whether you’re a teenager with acne who’s been told, “You’ll outgrow it,” or an adult with acne who often hears, “It’s not so bad,” only you know how deeply acne affects you. Use the sites recommended here to research acne treatment options so that you can decide with your physician what treatment is best for you.
- If you’re unsure whether your acne is “bad” enough to warrant seeing a dermatologist, take a look at this article on AcneNet. Though aimed at teenagers, the checklist covers some of the common emotions and stages associated with acne. Be aware that educating yourself about acne with this Web guide is only the beginning; seeing a dermatologist is the best way to treat acne and prevent future scarring.
- As noted in the “Acne Causes” section, many of the Web sites on acne are trying to sell a product and therefore aren’t likely to provide unbiased information. If you visit a Web site that’s not recommended in this guide, try to find an "About Us" section to see who is paying for the information and consider whether there may be any bias. If you can't find a reliable source for the information (for example, a medical institution), don’t assume that it’s trustworthy.
- Adult men with acne will find the information in the “For an overview” subsection, below, very helpful for treating their acne. Adult women, however, often don’t respond to conventional treatment options, as their acne is frequently the result of fluctuating hormones. Don’t miss the “For women” subsection, below, for information on treating hormonal acne.
Gone are the days when you had to suffer alone with your acne. The Web makes it easy to find acne help, and ask questions, get advice and a gain sense of community with other acne sufferers—all anonymously, if you like. Use the sites below to find forums, support groups and blogs to keep you informed and connected.
- If there’s any doubt in your mind that acne can cause all kinds of emotional trauma, read “Acne Can Change the Way You See the World” to find a list of the negative effects acne can have and some actual quotes from patients with acne describing how they feel.
- Perhaps due to the social withdrawal and embarrassment associated with acne, our search for face-to-face acne support groups turned up very few results. Asking your dermatologist if she is aware of a local acne support group may be your best bet.
- Though face-to-face support groups are rare, online support groups for acne sufferers are flourishing. Some of the forums we didn’t include are very out of date or full of posts recommending “miraculous” cures for acne. Keep in mind that some Web sites are merely trying to sell a product, and they sometimes have their own employees pose as anonymous users who rave about how great the product is. Not everyone tells the truth on forums, so be wary of posts about particular products and be careful about how much personal information you share online.
Read the latest acne research and news headlines on the Web.
- Many of the resources listed in previous sections of this Web guide, particularly the official sites for medical institutions, also provide news and research information on acne. Explore the recommended Web sites to see what you can find.
- If you pursue acne research beyond this Web guide, make sure to “search smart.” Established medical institutions and dermatological organizations are good sources of legitimate information on acne. Visit the findingDulcinea Guide to Web Search to learn how to evaluate the quality and integrity of the sites you find.