Acne and Bacteria – Best of Friends

5 05 2010

Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples, zits, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, pus-filled lesions and, oy, if you’ve ever struggled with it, you know that it’s physically and emotionally painful.

Dead skin cells and the oils on skin can plug up follicles, and this produces acne. When follicles get plugged up, skin bacteria, particularly Propionebacterium acnes (aka P. acnes), get trapped and start to grow, causing irritation.

Because we all have skin bacteria, the first thing we should not do is pick or squeeze pimples. This breaks our skin and allows more bacteria to invade an already inflamed area; then we’re in a world of hurt and spreading acne.

Our hands pick up all sorts of germs all day long. We need to keep them off of our faces because they only add to the problem by dumping even more bacteria on the skin. Keeping our fingernails as short as possible also helps reduce bacterial growth.

Bacteria play a part in the acne game, and that’s what keeps antibiotics in the lineup for acne treatments. We hear of people being on oral antibiotics for months, but what we don’t hear as much about are the topical treatments.

Instead of taking an antibiotic orally, we can apply a treatment directly to the affected area. Antibacterial washes have been effective for some people.

No one treatment works for everyone. If you’re at war with acne and you haven’t tried topical treatments, see your doctor and ask if they could work for you.