What Causes Acne
It seems like acne is not understood, but there is information to enlighten us as to the biology behind it. What we do know about acne is that it is caused by oil. This oil is called sebum and it helps keep skin and hair lubricated, soft and supple. Adolescence is a time when the body often produces excess amounts of sebum. When the sebum combines with your skin's dead skin cells this blocks hair follicles which keeps the sebum from escaping. When sebum cannot come out it builds up beneath the surface of the skin which in turn collects bacteria. Bacteria naturally multiply and the area around the skin gets read and inflamed and this red, inflamed area becomes a pimple.
There is a hormone in both male and female bodies called testosterone. We have all heard of testosterone being present in males, but did you know it is also found in the female? Testosterone is the hormone that causes extra production of the sebum oil. The reason most acne shows up during adolescence is because it is during this time that the body changes the way it reacts to testosterone. This change in reaction is what causes the skin to have excess oil. As you get older the body has learned how to deal with testosterone and that is why acne usually clears up by the time you reach your early twenties.
It is unclear why some people suffer from acne and others do not, although there appears to be a hereditary element to acne sufferers. In other words, if your Mom or Dad did not have acne, chances are good that you will not get it. Other things that may aggravate acne is stress, skin irritation, medicines and changes in hormonal activity.
Some medications that aggravate acne are things that include anabolic steroids, lithium, androgens and barbituates. A lot of people think that pimples can be caused by eating junk food and sweets, but there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
There has been some recent scientific evidence that is pointing to narrowing hair follicles as a cause for acne. There are a few things that may cause hair follicles to become narrower and therefore restrict the passing of oil. Excessive cell shedding within the follicle, cell binding or water retention can cause skin swelling. When the skin swells, this makes the hair follicle smaller. Because the narrower opening of the hair follicle prevents dead cells from leaving the body, an accumulation builds up under the skin. These built up dead skin cells combined with the skins excess oil creates a breeding ground for bacterial and when this bacteria becomes inflamed and red a pimple appears.
Most people pop their pimples, but this is actually not a good thing to do because it spreads the bacteria around and the condition worsens. It is also believed that pimple popping can lead to scarring.
Another thing to avoid when you have acne is touching your face. This can be a hard habit to break, but it truly will help you acne clear up if you can keep your hands away from your face. The reason you shouldn't touch your face is because your hands also contain oil and bacteria and these will exacerbate your acne symptoms. It is a good idea to make sure that anything that will be touching your face is clean, including your telephone and glasses, hair, clothing, etc.
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