- by Jahbuzor Eze
‘HEY, “crater face”!’ ‘Hey, “pizza face”!’ How utterly devastated, how ashamed, you feel! You want to creep away and hide. If only the ground would suddenly open and you could disappear!
Why such unkind, cutting words—words that bring titters from some standing nearby? Because you are suffering from the teenage scourge of acne.
Acne is a disorder of the skin that causes it to be spotted, even disfigured, by pimples, blackheads, and red swellings, or cysts. Often it is more than a passing discomfort that lasts a few months; it is a serious skin disorder.
People of all ages can be afflicted with it, but teenagers suffer the most, some 80 percent developing acne in varying degrees, according to some experts. Acne sufferers thus have plenty of company.
Not surprisingly, when 2,000 teenagers were asked to say what they disliked most about themselves, problems with skin far outnumbered every other complaint. F. Philip Rice, in his book The Adolescent, tells of young Jim who began getting acne in his early teens.
By the time he was 14, his face was so badly affected that pus at times ran down his cheeks. He changed from secure and outgoing to withdrawn and self-conscious.
Sandra, who had a bad case of acne while still in high school, later told of her ordeal in the magazine Co-Ed. She said: “I had such bad acne, I was always hiding my face from other people. I was shy because I was embarrassed about the way I looked. . . . I looked so bad.”
Of course, we all like to look our best. But it is good to remember that there is much more to life than personal appearance. It may encourage you to know that physical attractiveness does not influence God in any way.
What Causes Acne?
Why, though, does this scourge appear during your teenage years—at the very time you want to look your best? Because you are growing up.
With the onset of puberty, skin glands increase their activity. The World Book Encyclopedia explains in simple terms what happens: Each gland empties into a hair follicle—that is, the little bag surrounding each hair.
Normally the oil would drain out through a pore of the skin, but sometimes a pore gets clogged and the oil cannot get out quickly enough. The clogged pore now forms a blemish called a blackhead because the trapped oil oxidizes, dries, and turns black.
If the pore is so clogged that no air at all can get to it, then instead of a blackhead, a whitehead develops. A pimple develops when pus forms.
Cysts are formed when germs breed in the backed-up oil. It is the cysts that leave permanent scars. Pimples do not scar unless they become infected because of squeezing or picking—so don’t squeeze or pick!
Interestingly, tension and emotional upsets can activate the skin glands. Some experience the blossoming of a large pimple just before an important event or before and during exams.
Sound advice, though, on the futility of undue anxiety is found in the well-known Sermon on the Mount: “So, never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.”
It’s not always easy to follow this advice, is it? But if you can follow it, you may find that it at least helps with the emotional aspect of the acne problem.
Please read the part 2.