Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Clean Skin

  • Pimples, zits, volcanic eruptions whatever you call them spots can be a real pain and totally embarrassing. But before you put a paper bag over your head here’s our guide for healthy skin that glows with confidence…
    It’s a teen issue
    If you suffer from bad skin then you are not alone. According to Dr Jane Collins at Great Ormond Street Hospital, eighty five percent of 12 to 25 years olds will have spots at some point. They usually appear during puberty and affect more boys than girls due to testosterone levels that tend to make them worse. Having said that many female celebrities often get the odd occasional spot - just check out Britney Spears next time she makes a dash behind the camera!
    What causes spots?
    Believe it or not, spots are not directly caused by unclean skin or eating the wrong kind of foods like sweets, crisps, fry ups or chocolate. They are to do with hormones and an oily substance called sebum. Sebum usually keeps the skin nice and soft but if too much is produced it can block pores and trap bacteria turning the skin red and in the worst cases promoting acne. In puberty sebum can go into over drive hence why teenagers are more prone to bad skin than adults.
    Don’t squeeze
    If untreated spots and acne can lead to permanent scaring so it’s important that you get them treated fast. The best way to combat bad skin is not to pick or squeeze spots because as tempting as it is, it does your skin more harm than good and if you have dirty fingers it can lead to nasty infections.
    There are various treatments and lotions available for keeping spots under control and these are usually very effective.
    For mild acne, make sure you wash the affected area gently every day and apply a spot treatment directly to the skin to help clear the condition. Treatments can be bought directly from your chemist without a prescription but in the first instance its always best to check with your parents. The most effective treatments contain benzoyl peroxide. Anti bacterial face washes can also help and after a couple of weeks you should begin to see some pleasant results.
    If however, there doesn’t seem to be any improvement, or if your acne is very severe, then it’s advisable visit your doctor who may be able to give you another form of treatment, such as retinoic acid (a form of vitamin A), or a topical antibiotic lotion.
    Preventing spots
    Once your spots or acne has cleared up it’s important that you maintain a regular skin care programme to make sure the spots don’t return.
    Cleansing is a really important part of looking after your skin and helps wash away any lingering oils and perspiration.
    Make sure to wash with a mild soap and warm water everyday but don’t scrub too hard because this can actually work in reverse and promote even more oils!
    Circulation is great for the skin and the best way to boost circulation is through exercise.
    Try to exercise every day by walking to school and playing physical games at lunchtime.
    Regular exercise also helps to maintain stress, which is thought to be a common cause of spots and acne.
    Sleep is really important for good skin because it’s during this time that the skin renews itself. Most people require eight hours a night but this does vary from person to person.
    Finally, although too much sun can be really bad for you, a few rays can help to keep sebum at bay and dry out any oily patches.

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