What Causes Acne
Acne is a condition that affects millions of people and is most often attributed to teenagers or preteens going through puberty. But in reality, acne can happen at any age – even to people who are old enough to be grandparents!
But what causes acne? You’ll hear myths about acne – such as acne is caused by greasy foods or not washing well enough – but that’s not entirely true. Acne actually begins below the skin surface.
Your skin is covered with hair follicles. Each person’s body contains millions of hair follicles. Acne is what occurs when any one or more of these follicles become blocked. What causes the blockage?
Your skin produces an oil called sebum. The sebum is passed through the hair follicles on your skin. The purpose of this oil is to keep your skin soft and supple, to keep any possible infections at bay and to keep the moisture of your body balanced.
The right balance of sebum gives you clear, healthy looking skin and without enough sebum production, your skin becomes too dry. Two things happen to cause acne. First, acne happens when you have too much production of sebum.
Your skin is normally supposed to shed excess dead skin cells, and the sebum keeps your skin looking great and all is well. But when there’s too much of this oil produced, this causes a problem with how fast your skin is able to shed dead skin cells.
Your pores can’t keep up with the excess. If there were simply too much sebum, you would end up with really shiny skin because you can have oily skin without having acne. But what happens is since the time it takes your skin to shed the dead skin cells doesn’t speed up in conjunction with the overproduction of sebum, the oil and the dead skin cells get trapped.
Like a clog in a sink, whatever is below that clog can’t get out – and it’s the same with an overproduction of sebum. The oil becomes a clog, because your skin cells are acting as a lid on the top of the hair follicle.
Once the pores are clogged, your skin then erupts with pimples or blackheads or whiteheads. In some cases, hard cysts can develop. When the skin eruptions become inflamed, it can cause the swelling and redness you see on the skin.
You may see pus in some of the acne. The pus is a result of the infection. Besides too much sebum, bacteria can also cause acne to develop and some types of medication can also cause acne.
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