Anatomy and Physiology 1: Application Project
February 4, 2013
Acne Defined by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, acne is categorized as a skin disorder that becomes prominent when hair follicles in the skin become clogged with dead skin cells or natural oils that the body secretes. The results of acne are painful, annoying, and often times damaging lesions on the skin, which happens to be one of the most important defenders of the organs, muscles, and systems within the human body. Acne is not only damaging to the skin, however; its lesions are publically deemed unsightly and often leave individuals emotionally affected by the disorder in cases where peers ridicule the affected person to a point where they develop self-esteem issues. Average acne can be treated quite easily with over the counter remedies, and for more severe cases a prescription will do the job, however, the treatment and expulsion of the disorder from the body will require dedication from the affected individual if they truly desire to resolve the problem. As previously stated, acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oils secreted by the body. This oil is called sebum, and it is produced by sebaceous glands that are attached to hair follicles. Sebum’s main purpose is to lubricate skin and hair, softening and moisturizing it to create a healthy balance; sometimes however, there is an excess of sebum produced and released into the hair follicle where it joins together with dead skin cells and creates a blockage called a “comedone” otherwise known as a white or black head. These blockages are a breeding ground for bacteria and often become infected, inflamed, or both due to this. Once a blockage becomes infected it can officially be classified as a “papule”, which is a reddened, raised area that signals inflammation, a “pustule” which is basically a papule containing a white head of pus, or a “nodule/cyst”, which will occur deeper than surface level and will usually be very painful and have a longer healing process than a normal pimple. Acne is most commonly experienced in teenagers going through puberty. During puberty the sebaceous glands are enlarged by hormones called androgens and in turn produce a lot of excess sebum which is revealed in the form of a pimple. Acne is also prone to occur in pregnant women as their bodies undergo a serious hormonal imbalance for quite some time and occasionally some medications will result in acne as a side effect as well. Common misconceptions about this disorder include the idea that greasy foods or chocolate, dirty skin, and sweat will cause acne. Greasy foods will generally not affect any fluctuation with sebum production, dirt has no effect on the sebaceous gland therefore will not cause sebum to be produced in excess, and sweating will not create acne because those pores are not tied to the sebaceous glands. In reality, acne is an unavoidable process of our bodies; it is natural for hormonal teenagers to experience acne and the most help they can do themselves during a period of acne trouble is to treat it as wisely as possible and stay active and healthy so that other functions of the body may stay regulated.
There are several ways to effectively treat acne. Depending on the severity of a person’s acne, they can choose between different methods of treatment ranging from a daily antibacterial