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Acne and shingles are two distinct conditions that can significantly alter the health and appearance of your skin. Acne is caused by inflammation related to the excess skin oil, clogged pores and P. acnes bacteria. Shingles stems from the after effects of infection with varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
The American Academy of Dermatology lists skin abnormalities associated with acne that include:
- pus-filled pimples called pustules,
- severe lesions called nodules or cysts
The specific symptoms associated with your acne vary according to the precise location of skin inflammation. Milder blackheads and whiteheads result from inflammation near your skin’s surface. Moderate pimples and pustules result from inflammation further below your skin. Nodules and cysts result from deep inflammation processes.
The initial development of shingles begins when virus particles from a chickenpox infection enter your nervous system and go dormant, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, or NINDS 1. If and when these particles reactivate, they travel back down the nerve pathways to the surface of your skin, where they multiply until they trigger the rash that marks the onset of an active shingles outbreak.
If you develop acne, numerous factors may affect its extent or severity, the American Academy of Dermatology reports. Examples include your specific genetic background, emotional stress levels, hormone activity, menstrual activity and the use of cosmetics that clog the pores of your skin. While eating certain foods will not cause acne, aggravating foods may worsen your symptoms. Each individual has different food triggers, and you will need to take the time to discover your own. In some cases, the presence of food-related oil on your skin can contribute to worsening acne.
The main symptom of shingles is the development of a rash on affected skin, the NINDS reports. Outbreaks of the disorder typically occur on one side of your torso, near your waist. Depending on your particular circumstances, initial signs of shingles may include tingling, burning pain, itchiness or numbness. Within a week, fluid-filled blisters will appear. Individuals with shingles may develop pain that ranges from moderate levels of discomfort to an extreme hypersensitivity that can be triggered by even slight touch or wind exposure.
The American Academy of Dermatology lists potential treatments for your acne symptoms that include topical medications containing salicylic acid, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol; oral antibiotics; estrogen-containing birth control pills; corticosteroid injections; and a vitamin-A related compound called isotretinoin. Prompt treatment of your symptoms can reduce acne’s effects and limit or prevent the development of acne-related scarring.
The main treatment for shingles is the prompt use of antiviral drugs such as famcyclovir and acyclovir, the NINDS explains. You may also receive topical medications, anticonvulsants, steroids or antidepressants to reduce the effects of shingles-related nerve damage. With treatment, shingles symptoms frequently resolve within in a period of three to five weeks. However, if you have a depressed immune system, it may be much more difficult to treat a shingles outbreak.
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