Friday 12 August 2016

One on One with Marla Ahlgrimm | Women and Acne

Marla Ahlgrimm is a respected women’s health expert and retired pharmacist  who has spent the better part of the last four decades dedicated to treating issues specific to the fairer sex. In today’s question and answer session, Ahlgrimm discusses an embarrassing issue for women of all ages: acne.

Q: What causes acne?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Acne has two main causes, an overproduction of sebum – which is produced by the skin’s oil glands, and a bacteria known as P. acnes. In women, acne tends to follow hormones, with sufferers seeing the most breakouts coinciding with their period or at the dawn of a new developmental stage, such as puberty, pregnancy, or adulthood. Acne may also be triggered by makeup or medications. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by poor or improper hygiene, chocolate, or stress.

 Q: How is acne treated?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Simple breakouts may go away on their own once a woman’s hormones shift back into balance. For longer-lasting acne, washing with warm water and a high-quality, fragrance-free face wash can help. Dermatologists often prescribe salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide products to treat chronic blackheads and other mild skin blemishes.

Q: Are there products that can control severe acne?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Severe acne that presents with deep cysts, swelling, and facial discoloration must be treated by a dermatologist and probably will not respond to drugstore acne creams. Often, antibiotics are required to get rid of infection and larger cysts may be injected with an anti-inflammatory to reduce pain and minimize scarring.

Q: Does birth control have an effect on women’s acne?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women who experience acne outbreaks around their menstrual cycle may find these breakouts are significantly reduced by regularly taking birth control pills. Some women are further prescribed additional drugs to lower the production of androgen, which in turn inhibits oil gland output.


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