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Acne is caused when your skin's pores become blocked by dead skin cells, trapping oils naturally produced by your skin and preventing them from reaching the surface. The dead skin cells and trapped oil form a kind of plug, creating a warm environment where bacteria thrive and multiply. As these bacteria build up, the body releases white blood cells and other substances to fight them off, resulting in inflammation and redness that appear on your skin in the form of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and even cysts. Acne breakouts can be triggered in different ways, usually by hormones, stress, some medications and certain foods like dairy and carbohydrates.
Acne can be difficult to treat, but if you're persistent and vigilant in maintaining the routine recommended by your doctor, you can reduce breakouts and have clearer skin over time. Acne treatment usually involves topical medications to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation and clear pores. In some cases, oral medications are also prescribed. Acne can also be treated with special facial washes, lasers and chemical peels. Most patients benefit from a combination of treatments, and often, the treatment regimen will change over time, especially if one treatment seems to be losing its effect.
Seeing your dermatologist regularly is the best way to keep your acne under control. Keeping your skin clean using mild cleansers is also important; avoid products that exfoliate unless recommended by your doctor, since many of these products can irritate skin and make breakouts worse. Learning to manage stress and avoiding foods like chocolate that have been linked with breakouts in some people may also help. Also, don't pick or squeeze pimples; both can cause infection and scarring.
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