Acne is an inflammatory human disease relating to the sebaceous glands of the skin; these are characterized by papules, pustules or comedones.
Beneath your skins surface there are many follicles (commonly called pores) with sebaceous glands attached to them. These glands produce and secrete a protective oil called sebum.
During puberty, testosterone levels rise in both sexes. This excess testosterone is taken into the sebaceous glands thereby increasing sebum production.
At the same time, the keratin in your skin becomes unusually sticky causing the sebum to plug your pores and prevent skin shedding.
If the follicle opens, the keratinous material escapes through it and an open comedone or blackhead results. If the follicle does not open sufficiently, a closed comedone or whitehead results, within which inflammation can occur.
Most acne sufferers have a combination of both.
Papules form under the skins surface when the follicle wall breaks mixing white blood cells with bacteria. A few days later, this papule can form into a pustule (commonly known as a pimple) when the follicle becomes red and fills with pus.
These pustules can explode and inflame the surrounding skin to form nodules or cysts in severe cases.
Acne forms in areas that contain large quantities of sebaceous glands, such as the back, shoulders, neck, face, and hair.
There are no fast remedies for acne problems. It takes time and diligence to clear and prevent acne.
The truth about acne
Claim Acne is just a sign of dirty skin.
Reality Whilst it is important to have clean skin, acne occurs when the pores in the skin become blocked. Hormones cause the oil glands to produce more oil and if the pores are blocked, this creates the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish, thereby causing acne.
Claim Fried food and chocolate causes acne.
Reality – Oily food and chocolate generally wont cause pimples to form but some people do experience increased acne after eating certain foods. A well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will always assist with your skins condition and general health.
Claim Its ok to squeeze pimples.
Reality Most dermatologists recommend against squeezing of pimples. The reason for this is that scarring and worsening of the acne is always possible.
Claim Acne medications with active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide are the best treatment for acne.
Reality Acne medications incorporating benzoyl peroxide dry out your skin and can lead to skin redness, irritation, allergic contact dermatitis and bleaching of hair and fabrics.
Claim Sunlight will help to clear up acne.
Reality Whilst you may notice a small improvement in your acne after sun exposure, this is usually just short term. Exposure to the sun causes damage to your skin and as your skin begins the healing process more breakouts can occur.
Claim Acne only affects teenagers.
Reality Acne is not just a teenage problem. Hormonal acne affects many women in their 20s, 30s and occasionally their 40s and/or at the time of menopause.