When Clear Skin becomes an Obsession
Billions of people around the world experience acne over their lifetimes. In fact, acne is the single most common skin disorder, and more common than all other skin disorders combined.
With this being the case, it is not surprising to see literally thousands of different acne treatments available on the market today. There are prescription medications, such as accutane, and Retin-A. These work well on severe cystic acne. There are also over the counter medications, such as Benzoyl peroxide and Salicylic acid. For light to moderate acne, these can be a godsend. And of course, there are herbal acne treatments like tea tree oil and green tea cream. These both are proven to work well as alternatives to benzoyl peroxide.
This is just to name a very few of the most effective acne treatments available. There are then hundreds of brands that repackages these treatments under thousands of names, and sell them to acne suffers the world over.
However, there is one acne symptom that none of these medications can treat? Acne Dysmorphia.
Acne Dysmorphia is really more of it's own disorder altogether. It is similar to anorexia nervosa, in that the person suffering from acne dysmorphia becomes completely obsessed with a physical condition of their body. With Anorexia, it is their weight, and with acne dysmorphia, it is their clear complexion.
The truth of the matter is, Acne Dysmorphia is not strongly related to acne at all. The acne is just a catalyst for the problem. With Acne Dysmorphia, a person will become completely fixated on their skin, whether or not they are suffering from acne at all! They may pick at an area of skin until it bleeds, or becomes infected. Also, depression often results from their frustration with their skin complexion.
The sad fact is, many times these people may only have a few very small breakouts. Therefore, no amount of "acne treatment" will help reduce the fixation on the skin. It is not uncommon for someone with Acne Dysmorphia to check their face in a mirror dozens, even hundreds of times a day. And each look in a mirror reflects only a distorted image, one with a much larger acne problem than exists.
The cure for this disorder does not come from any form of acne care, but from healing within. Behavioral therapy, can be an amazing aid in curing acne dysmorphia. In many cases, this is all that is needed to help reduce the symptoms. In extreme cases, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor may be needed. Also, some people find hypnosis can be an effective form of treatment.
The most important thing to understand with acne dysmorphia is that it is not due to the acne breakouts, but to a mental disorder that needs to be treated completely independently of any acne. Furthermore, it is very important to treat acne dysmorphia, because the resulting depression can create many problems for a person, including suicide.
Acne is never pleasant for anyone, but acne dysmorphia can truly be a crippling disorder. Seek treatment for the mental aspects first, and then you may find that the acne you have will suddenly become an easily manageable aspect of your life!
Greg Podsakoff is a former acne sufferer, and the editor of http://www.acne-treatments-guide.com
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