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Acne Series: Understanding What Causes Acne

As many know, acne isn’t just cosmetic, but it has a large effect on your self perception, sometimes causing low self esteem in a lot of cases. For some adults and teens, having a pimple can be so upsetting they won’t come out of the house. For others it may not bother them at all. Having acne can be embarrassing no matter how big or small that zit is. This was true in our teenage years and it’s still very true in our adult years. Not too many people actually understand the causes of acne to explain it. Acne can range from being mild with just a few pimples to severe acne with hundreds of cysts that are often painful. Clear skin is something everyone strives for. With the right acne treatment, that goal isn’t too far away.

What causes acne?

Acne or acne vulgaris is a skin condition that starts when oil and dead skin cells plug up your pores. When bacteria gets inside of the pore, it swells up and results in redness and pus causing acne spots. Naturally, sebum flows out of the sebaceous gland and out of the pore onto your skin. This helps lubricate your skin and hair. Acne develops when that path gets blocked and sebum isn’t allowed to reach the skin’s surface. There, sebum mixes with dead skin cells to block the pore. In this mixture, bacteria are likely to grow and increase the chance to reach nearby tissues causing swelling, redness and puss. The major influences that cause acne are hormones and heredity. Stress, also has an effect to causing breakouts while food and cleanliness has very little part. Both male and females produce the hormone testosterone more during puberty, that’s why in teens, acne is very common.

What about adult acne? Hate to say it, but adult women are more likely to get adult acne. Pregnancy, menstrual cycles, hormonal irregularities and ovarian cysts can also be reasons to cause acne in adults. Acne tends to get better as you age, but some adults usually experience flare ups.

What does it look like?

There are many different types of acne. Acne prone areas are mostly the face, back and chest because those are the areas that with the densest population of sebaceous follicles. Acne can be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Inflamed acne consists of papules which are mild pimples, pustules (moderate) and cystic lesions, which are more severe. Mild acne can be whiteheads, blackheads, papules, or comedones. Cystic acne is usually painful and the pimples are large and deep sometimes leaving scars.

There are many topical acne spot treatments available and safe to use as acne cures.  Salicylic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, Glycolic acid and lactic acid are all commonly found in treatments for acne. For those with severe acne, a trip to your dermatologist is recommended.

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One Comment

  1. Sandy Bennett
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I have used Carmol 10 for years and have had wonderful results. Nothing else works as well. Now, I find that it has been discontinued. Are there similar products to replace it? Please bring it back.

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