Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Acne Basics: What Causes Acne?

The causes of acne are continuously being researched. Today, we know of several factors involved in the production of acne.

What Causes Acne - 5 Areas

1.       Hormones and Sebum
Acne is well associated with teens. In fact, 85% of us have some form of acne during our teen years. This isn’t surprising given how rapidly hormones rise during adolescence. The levels of androgens increase dramatically in both females and males. Androgens encourage the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum - the body’s natural oils that surface through hair follicles. It is usually the face, the back, and the chest that experience the results of extra oil production. That is why those areas are most prone to an acne outbreak.

If the sebum reached the surface every time, acne would not be as big an issue. On the surface, it is easily washed away. But the oils sometimes get trapped in the hair follicle and cause it to burst. When our pores (follicles) close up, all the excess oil gets trapped inside the pores. This is the cause for whiteheads. Pressure on the follicle can make it rupture from the inside. This makes it an easier place for bacteria to thrive. The white blood cells that rush to the follicle to heal it are trapped with the bacteria. This mixture of pus and inflammation is one cause of acne. Another influence over acne is stress. Stress itself does not cause acne. It is the shift in hormones caused by stress that can result in acne breakouts. Stress has a negative influence on the immune system. The immune system then has lower defenses, making it easier for bacteria to grow.

2.       Drugs

There are a few kinds of drugs that can cause acne. Among these are barbiturates and tetracycline. A major side effect of anabolic steroids is the development of acne. Don’t take those drugs unless it is absolutely medically necessary.

3.       Heredity

Heredity has its part in the likelihood of acne development. This are is being researched still as we still don’t know how it plays the role. According to statistics, acne seems to be a family problem. It could be due to diet or other factors involved in the family environment but it seems to be more hereditary than environmental.

4.        Diet

In the past, it was widely assumed that the food we ate caused acne. But chocolate and cheeseburgers don’t play a large role. The only influence food may have over acne is if the type of food causes an increase in oil production which combines with underlying factors.

5.       Skin Care

Bad skin cleansing habits can have an effect on acne development. Bacteria that do not get properly washed away builds up in the pores. A disciplined skin care regimen can help keep acne under control in some cases. 
Dirt and cosmetics can cause pores to clog and result in acne. If you have a problem with acne, don’t wear makeup or buy the “non-comedogenic” type. This makeup is designed so it does not clog pores.

What causes acne is still being researched and the hope of millions of acne sufferers is that advances in medicine may one day put acne to rest forever. 

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