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Skin Care Products > Articles > The Acne Guide for Guys!

The Acne Guide for Guys!

Posted On: - 2009-08-04 03:20:08

Acne is a common skin concern among guys. However, skin care for men is often limited to washing their face or maybe borrowing stuff from their girlfriends or wives to get rid of the acne inflammations and blemishes. But that's not the right thing to do. When it comes to skin care, it is important to understand that there are certain intrinsic differences between the skin of men and women and this influence the treatment of acne as well.

Because much of the skin care information is aimed at women, men find it rather difficult to get tips on how to take care of their skin and deal with difficult acne situations. First and foremost, it is important to understand the inherent differences between male and female skin.

Men have a thicker epidermis and dermis as compared to women. Moreover, they have more terminal hair on the face and body. As a result, male skin is more tolerable towards higher concentrations of acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Also, since male skin has larger skin pores and higher density of sebaceous glands, it tends to be oilier and more prone to sweating. Therefore, it is extremely important to deep cleanse the skin in order to maintain a clear complexion.

Types of Acne

Acne is casued by the accumulation of dead skin cells, sebum particles and toxins within the skin pores that further lead to bacterial infestation. P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne is anaerobic and does not need oxygen for survival. As a result, it flourishes within the blocked skin pores and gives rise to inflammatory and non-inflammatory breakouts and lesions.

Here are some common types of non-inflammatory acne:

Also called open comedones, these are tiny flecks that appear on the skin surface, especially around the nose or on the chin and cheeks. They are actually plugs of dead skin and sebum that block the opening of the skin pores and appear as black spots. Blackheads seldom turn into inflammatory acne.

These closed comedones are large blockages that pop out of the skin pores as a raised plug of white blood cells called pus. Unlike blackheads, whiteheads are very vulnerable and if not taken proper care of can turn into inflammatory acne.

Inflammatory acne are much more serious in nature and can turn into stubborn blemishes. Here are some types of inflammatory acne:

They are small solid skin lesions that appear raised on the skin surface.

They are small lesions on the skin surface that look like blisters and are filled with pus.

Nodules – They are solid, raised bumps on the skin surface that are comparatively larger.

They are closed pockets of tissue that can be filled with air, fluid or pus.

Causes of Acne

Acne can be caused and aggravated by a number of factors. Here are some major ones.

Excessive Oil Production
The sebaceous glands in our body are responsible for the production of sebum, the body's natural oil. Excessive production of sebum during the adolescent years leads to acne. Men generally have a higher density of sebaceous glands and thus are more prone to acne inflammations and blemishes.

Accumulation of Dead Skin Cells
When too many skin cells die on the skin surface, they stick together with the sebum particles and block the opening of skin pores. This leads to bacterial infestation and whiteheads and blackheads are formed.

Bacterial Infestation
The P. acnes bacteria grows and multiplies within the skin pores. Gradually, the contents of the skin pores swell and lead to small eruptions in the cell walls. This releases the bacteria into the surrounding skin tissues which causes redness and inflammation.

Hormonal Alterations

Testosterone is a major contributor to the development of acne. It prompts the skin to increase oil production that further leads to the development of acne.

Anti Acneic Ingredients

Salicylic Acid

It exfoliates the dead skin cells that block the skin pores and encourages cell turnover. This way the skin pores remain open and thus improves the quality of the skin.

Benzoyl Peroxide

It kills the P. acnes bacteria by releasing oxygen into the skin pores. Ideally, it should be used in concentrations ranging from 2 to 10 percent. Though men have thicker skin and are able to tolerate higher concentrations, benzoyl peroxide can leave skin overly dry and flaky, so it is best to start with a lower percentage and increase it gradually.

Both these ingredients increase the skin's susceptibility to UV rays and can lead to sunburn and skin cancer. Therefore, make sure you wear sunscreen whenever you use skin care products containing these ingredients.  

Dr. Marilynn Syrett is a graduate from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine Of The Pacific and has a keen understanding of skin care products and acne skin treatments, their work process and effectiveness. She has affiliations with The Collaborative on Health and the Environment and the Teleosis Institute – Health Professionals in Service of the Global Environment.