Acne Prevention

Acne prevention really would be better than acne cure. Sadly, acne does not conform readily to the preventative model. Some of the rarer types of acne are preventable, but there are currently no medically approved methods to prevent adolescent acne. Alternative acne prevention techniques and preventative skin care regimes may, however, prove beneficial in preventing teenage acne.

The Acne Prevention Ideal

In the idealised model of acne prevention, immunisation or medication would be given to the 'at risk' population in order to prevent acne. This would significantly reduce both the probability of the individual developing acne and the incidence of acne in the population. Proactive acne prevention programmes would be of great benefit to public health services, which expend considerable amounts of time and money treating acne, particularly in teenagers. One doesn't have to be a conspiracy theorist to realise that a proactive acne prevention programme would be extremely damaging to most drug companies and many private doctors. Acne is a huge cash cow, which drug companies milk for the profits to be made from selling acne medication to the huge number of acne sufferers requiring months or sometimes years of acne treatment.

The Reality of Preventing Acne

Medicine's current ability to prevent acne, and the prospects for acne prevention in the future, vary greatly between the different clinical types of acne. Some of the less common forms of acne are preventable, but the means of prevention rely on physical measures to prevent contact between the causative agent and the subject, rather than a drug or immunisation model. However, safe and effective medical measures to prevent adolescent acne, by far the commonest clinical type of acne, have so far eluded both medical researchers and drug companies.

Preventable Types of Acne

Some of the rarer clinical types of acne - drug-induced acne, occupational acne, cosmetic-induced acne and occlusion acne - have a single, easily identifiable cause. Perhaps more importantly, the causative agent which induces the acne originates outside of the body. These types of acne can be prevented by physical measures which prevent the subject coming into contact with the causative agent. Occupational acne is perhaps the easiest example to understand. People working in industrial situations may develop acne following exposure of their skin to certain substances, which include halogenated hydrocarbons, mineral oils and tar. Preventing a subject's skin becoming exposed to acne inducing chemicals is the most effective means of preventing occupational acne. It may have been dermatologists who discovered the relationship between the acne inducing chemicals and the condition, but the measures used to prevent occupational acne are physical rather than medical. In developed countries, it has been the tightening of Health and Safety legislation and the introduction of improved protective clothing and working practices that has brought about a dramatic fall in the incidence of occupational acne. Similar principles of acne prevention apply in the case drug-induced acne, cosmetic-induced acne and acne caused by occlusion; preventing the patient becoming exposed to the acne causing agent is an effective method of acne prevention.

Adolescent Acne Prevention

Adolescent acne is a common, persistent and unpleasant condition. It is however essentially self-limiting, rarely life threatening and responds to a number of existing acne treatments. Any proactive programme to prevent acne in adolescents, There is no accepted medical method of preventing acne of the adolescent clinical type using either immunisation or drugs, would have to meet extraordinarily stringent safety criteria. It may be acceptable to use drugs or immunisation with potentially harmful side effects to prevent serious or life threatening diseases such as hepatitis B or malaria. It would be unacceptable to expose an otherwise healthy population to any risk of serious side effects, in order to prevent a condition such as adolescent acne. Medical research continues in this area, so there is the prospect of universal adolescent acne prevention in the future, but for the present there is no accepted medical method of preventing adolescent acne, the commonest cause of teenage acne

Practical Ways to Prevent Acne

Although there no medically approved methods to prevent acne, there are a number of alternative acne prevention techniques which may hold out the prospect for teenagers of either preventing acne or reducing its severity. The problem with choosing an alternative method to prevent acne is that there is often no reliable information regarding the safety or effectiveness of a technique. The two main approaches to adolescent acne prevention which are worthy of consideration, the natural acne prevention techniques and preventative acne skin care, are described in the pages which follow.