What Causes Acne? Mar 20, 2020 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Nobody enjoys having acne breakouts or long battles with skin care. Unfortunately, acne has a wide array of causes that can make it challenging to treat with a one-size-fits-all approach. Knowing the different situations and elements that can exacerbate acne is vital for preventing and treating it.
Human skin has small holes known as pores. Your pores can become stopped up and clogged by bacteria, oil, dirt, and even your dead skin cells. These contaminants can contribute to the development of acne, often known simply as pimples or zits.
Understanding the Symptoms and Signs of Acne Conditions
Acne can occur practically anywhere on the body but is most common on the face, neck, back, shoulders, and chest. Acne typically causes pimples that are black or white. These pimples are known respectively as blackheads and whiteheads. They are also categorized as comedones.
Blackheads are acne that opens at the skin’s surface. This gives them their characteristic black appearance as the pimple reacts to the oxygen in the surrounding air. On the other hand, whiteheads are enclosed beneath the skin’s surface. This gives them their white color since oxygen cannot reach their centers.
There are other types of lesions, but blackheads and whiteheads are the most common. Acne can sometimes cause inflammatory lesions. These lesions are much more likely to leave scar tissue than simple blackheads or whiteheads.
Acne can also cause cysts, which are large lumps underneath the skin’s surface. Cysts contain pus and usually cause noticeable pain. Cysts are one of the more serious manifestations of acne.
The Underlying Causes of Acne
Blocked pores in the skin cause acne. Pores become blocked by a variety of factors like bacteria, oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. Each pore is the opening to a follicle, which consists of a hair and an oil gland. Oil glands release oil that goes up the hair and onto the surface of the skin through the pore opening. The skin’s oils keep it soft and supple.
Acne happens when a problem arises in one or more of the portions of the process of lubricating the skin. Often, more than one factor causes acne. These factors disrupt the different parts of the skin’s normal operations:
- Your skin may create too much oil, leading to clogged follicles
- Dead skin cells may build up and clog pores
- Bacteria can grow and block up pores through infections
These issues can all contribute to acne breakouts. Any of the above can cause a pimple, which is when bacteria grow beneath the surface of a clogged pore. Pores clogged by pimples are unable to release the oil, creating pressure beneath the skin’s surface.
There are several risk factors that can exacerbate acne conditions. However, many myths exist about the real causes of acne. It is crucial to debunk these ideas so that people can accurately treat their acne. It is commonly believed that chocolates, french fries, other sweets, or fried foods can make acne worse. There is currently no scientific data to support this belief.
There are real risk factors that contribute to developing or worsening acne, though:
- Some medications including corticosteroids and some birth control pills
- Having parents who had acne
- A diet consisting of too many carbohydrates and refined sugars
Most people are at the most considerable risk of acne during puberty. Hormonal changes associated with youth can trigger excess oil production within the skin. This usually resolves, or at least improves, after puberty has ended. However acne can affect anyone, at any age.