The Facts on Acne
What is acne?
Acne occurs when the pores of the skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria. Each pore of the skin is the opening to a follicle.
The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. The oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin.
Cystic acne commonly increases in your thirties as this is when the skin is most susceptible to hormonal changes. The hormonal shifts affect the oil glands and sebaceous glands of the skin.
Acne signs vary depending on the severity of your condition:
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
- Blackheads (open plugged pores)
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
- Large, solid, painful lumps under the skin (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin (cystic lesions)
Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.
Four main factors cause acne:
- Excess oil (sebum) production
- Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
Acne typically appears on your face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders because these areas of skin have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. Hair follicles are connected to oil glands.
The follicle wall may bulge and produce a whitehead. Or the plug may be open to the surface and darken, causing a blackhead. A blackhead may look like dirt stuck in pores. But actually the pore is congested with bacteria and oil, which turns brown when it's exposed to the air.
Pimples are raised red spots with a white center that develop when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected with bacteria. Blockages and inflammation deep inside hair follicles produce cyst like lumps beneath the surface of your skin. Other pores in your skin, which are the openings of the sweat glands, aren't usually involved in acne.
Certain things may trigger or worsen acne:
- Hormonal changes. Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormone changes during midlife, particularly in women, can lead to breakouts too.
- Certain medications. Examples include drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.
- Diet. Studies indicate that consuming certain foods — including carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, bagels and chips — may worsen acne. Further study is needed to examine whether people with acne would benefit from following specific dietary restrictions.
- Stress. Stress doesn't cause acne, but if you have acne already, stress may make it worse.
These factors have little effect on acne:
- Chocolate and greasy foods. Eating chocolate or greasy food has little to no effect on acne.
- Hygiene. Acne isn't caused by dirty skin. In fact, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse.
- Cosmetics. Cosmetics don't necessarily worsen acne, especially if you use oil-free makeup that doesn't clog pores (noncomedogenics) and remove makeup regularly. Non-oily cosmetics don't interfere with the effectiveness of acne drugs.
How do I get rid of Acne?
Acne and skin Blemishes develop in specific zones because of internal issues, which may include high blood pressure, dehydration, and digestive wellbeing, or even as a complaint from another organ in the body, such as the 'angry' liver.
Risk factors for acne include:
- Age. People of all ages can get acne, but it's most common in teenagers.
- Hormonal changes. Such changes are common during puberty or pregnancy.
- Family history. Genetics plays a role in acne. If both of your parents had acne, you're likely to develop it too.
- Greasy or oily substances. You may develop acne where your skin comes into contact with oil or oily lotions and creams.
- Friction or pressure on your skin. This can be caused by items such as telephones, cell phones, helmets, tight collars and backpacks.