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Body Acne - Why We Don't Talk About It

Anything to hide?

Jokes apart, however, body acne is a condition that not many people talk about, primarily because there seems to be a general feeling that if it can't be seen, it does not require discussion. Wrong, as ever, because body acne is not merely ugly and embarrassing, but also potentially painful and capable of leaving behind prominent scars.

Since acne is essentially an inflammation of the pores, you can get body acne practically anywhere. And all of you have at one time or another developed pimples or zits on some part of our bodies. However, not all of you have been unlucky enough to have those pimples spread to all parts of your body on a regular basis.

Reason, unreason...

As with all other forms of acne, no one knows exactly why acne occurs on various parts of the body. However, as Natalie and others like her have realized to their cost, certain factors may aggravate body acne. Among them, skincare expert Adrianna Menotti lists "perspiration, tight and/or synthetic clothing, poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, and heredity". That pretty much covers everything, but you still have to figure out ways to avoid these exacerbating factors.

"There's not much you can do with genetics and heredity," laughs dermatologist Dr Andrew Waite. However, what you can do is wear the right clothes, eat the right food, and maintain a strict personal hygiene regimen. Says Adrianna, "A large part of my job is about advising clients about the diet they should be following, and making sure they know how much fresh fruits and vegetables they should be eating."

Similarly, Dr Waite advises patients to wear natural fibers as much as possible, make sure they shower soon after exercising so sweat does not gather beneath the pores, and to use medicated cleansers and lotions containing benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

If these methods fail, dermatologists prescribe antibiotics. However, the one problem with antibiotics is that if you are over-exposed to them, there are chances that the bacteria that they are meant to be killing will develop a resistance to them. As with other forms of acne, hormone therapy is an option for women in particular, but for me, Accutane has worked wonders.

Accutane (a trade name for the drug isotretinoin, which is derived from Vitamin A) is usually the last line of defense for dermatologists, but you need to consult your doctor carefully before going in for it, because isotretinoin adversely affects certain groups of people, pregnant women among them. However, if you are able to use it, isotretinoin can eliminate acne for good by clamping down on the production of sebum from the sebaceous glands, wherein lies the root of all acne.

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