Dirt, hormones or excess sebum is that what causes acne?
Looking at what causes acne, there are always new questions to answer.
Hormones and Sebum …
That’s what causes acne and it’s no accident that acne tends to be associated with teenagers. Acne strikes over 85% of us during our teenage years.
It’s at the stage in life when hormone levels rise sharply and when androgen levels increase in both males and females.
The rise in hormonal levels has other effects, but the stimulation of the sebaceous glands are what result in increased sebum, the natural oil found in all our hair follicles.
The largest increases occur around the face, back and upper chest, which are the places where acne tends to appear.
Increased oil or sebum isn’t generally a problem as long as it reaches the surface of the skin. Once there, it’s spread around and often washed off with soap and water by those who take good care of their skin. However, blackheads can still form as a result of the excess oil oxidising.
The worst possible thing happens when pores close …
Closed pores become clogged with that excess oil and this encourages the growth of whiteheads and the resulting pressure can cause follicles to rupture. The bacteria that form now have a much friendlier environment in which to grow.
At the same time, bacteria and the white blood cells the body sends to deal with it (normally without any problem) get trapped. This produces pus and inflammation and eventually acne.
Is stress what causes acne?
Stress itself doesn’t normally cause acne, but it can make it worse by increasing hormone levels.
It also contributes to a weakening of the the immune system and a less effective defense against invading bacteria.
But stress isn’t a major factor.
Drugs – Certain drugs can encourage the development of acne.
Barbituates and tetracycline are known to be among the main culprits.
Anabolic steroids are widely recognized by professional dermatologists to be a major contributor to acne among those who take them.
Avoiding the abovedrugs, except for specific medical reasons, helps reduce the chances of acne occurring.
Are Heredity and Genetic factors what cause acne?
Genetics play a role as well. How large a role is still to be quantified and this area is one of active research and therefore the exact mechanism has yet to be detailed.
But, statistics show that acne does tend to run in families.
This may in part, be due to diet or some other common family circumstance. But it’s more a factor of inheritance.
Diet and Skin Care …
This is a much more minor cause of acne than is commonly supposed. While certain foods are themselves greasy, this isn’t what causes acne and doesn’t translate directly into increased oil in the skin.
Of course, poor eating habits often go hand in hand with poor skin care practices. And, any food that tends to increase the production of sebum (oil) or certain hormones will certainly have a contributing effect.
However, there are currently no studies suggesting that the common culprits; ie, soft drinks, chocolate and greasy cheeseburgers, among others, play any large role in causing acne.
Poor skin care and cleansing habits do play some role, because bacteria that lie near the surface sometimes remain unmolested.
Regular use of an effective exfoliant or a good skin cleanser will help. But, take care that the skin doesn’t become excessively dry, as this can cause other skin problems.
Even dirty environments or heavy make-up can contribute to an acne problem by blocking the skins pores, especially when the dirt of make-up blocks oil ducts.
But surface dirt itself isn’t responsible for acne.
The dark head that gives blackheads their name is the result of exposure to air, not trapped dirt.[signoff predefined=”#” icon=”icon-attention”]There’s very little anyone can do about their heredity or genetics and passing through teenage years is a normal part of growing up.
But good skin care, quick treatment at the onset of acne symptoms and other controllable choices will help keep what causes your acne at bay.[/signoff]