You ought to understand what causes acne in order to effectively prevent and treat outbreaks of acne. Outbreaks of acne affect almost everybody. So, this information is important. You can only prevent acne and treat future outbreaks properly when you fully realize what causes acne.
Your skin has a lot of pores, some of which have hairs. Connecting to those pores are sebaceous glands that make skin oil, or sebum. This oil helps keep the skin flexible. The pore is the conduit through which the sebum reaches the surface to lubricate the skin.
What is Acne?
The simple explanation is that acne is a bacterial infection within a plugged pore. It typically manifests itself as a blackhead or a whitehead. The skin surrounding this infection can become tender and become red.
The infection really starts a number of days before it becomes visible. After a number of days the infected pore has become so inflamed and enlarged that you detect a brand new pimple.
What Causes Acne?
What has changed to all of a sudden cause these pimples?
There is really a reason that acne starts at some stage in puberty as your body exhibits signs of maturity. The reason is that hormones, like testosterone, are beginning to be released. Both young men and women begin releasing testosterone at some stage in adolescence. This will cause many organs to have to adjust to this new stimulus. The sebaceous glands just below the skin are one type of organ that needs time to adjust to these hormones.
These sebaceous glands manufacture a compound called sebum, or skin oil. It enters skin pores and travels to the surface where it helps lubricate the skin, keeping it soft. When testosterone is originally released, the sebaceous glands are not able to deal with this stimulation. They become enlarged and start producing extra sebum.
Further hormones are released whenever you are under stress. Most everyone agrees that puberty is a period of anxiety. Stress hormones can also affect the sebaceous glands to encourage increased sebum production.
While all this seems pretty bad, time is on your side. Typically during your early twenties you stop getting these outbreaks. The reason is that the sebaceous glands have gotten use to the continuing stimulus of testosterone. The production of sebum goes back to normal and the outbreaks suddenly end.
During the adjustment period, your sebaceous glands continue to be enlarged and produce surplus sebum. All this sebum eventually finds it way to your skin. Here it encounters dead skin cells. You skin is always renewing itself and dead skin cells on the surface are lose and may be rubbed off. So, when the sebum encounters these tiny dead skin cells a glob is formed. These globs can obstruct the pores.
Now we’re in a mess. This combination of dead skin cells, skin bacteria and sebum form a clump that blocks a pore. The sebaceous glands still produce sebum and sebum starts to accumulate and enlarge the pore. The acne bacteria love this warm, oily environment and start multiplying. After a while they affect the surrounding skin and set off irritation.
If the obstruction is near the opening of the pore, air can get to the plug and darken it. This is now a blackhead. If the plug is deeper within the pore, the pore can be completely closed off from the outside air. The contents remain light in color. This is now a whitehead which is usually called a pimple or zit.
This information about what leads to acne can help you take the proper actions to avoid or treat breakouts of acne.