Acne is one of the most discomforting facial flaws that anyone can have, they are often embarrassing and can make one very uncomfortable. There are so many myths and beliefs surrounding acne issues but generally, let’s look at acne from the medical point of view.
All acne originated from one basic lesion known as a comedo. Basically, a comedo is simply a clogged hair follicle or a clogged skin pore. Some comedones are closed with skin and are known as whiteheads whereas some others are open and exposed to the skin surface and are known as blackheads. Blackheads are usually dark in color not necessarily because of dirt but simply because of the build-up of melanin in the site of the exposed lesion. A clogged follicle that is closed with skin can get bigger and push its way onto the skin surface and become a blackhead.Acne can either be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Inflamed acne can either be papules, pustules or cysts (nodules). Papules are like small round pink bumps. Pustules are clearly inflamed with visible pus whereas cysts or nodules are inflamed, pus-filled lesions which are found deep within the skin. They occur when the comedo spills its content into the surrounding skin, and then the immune system responds to this spillage, by producing pus. If left untreated, it can last for weeks and months and then harden into a deep nodular cyst.
Non-inflamed acnes, stay under the skin, may be slightly raised and occur mostly as whiteheads.
So basically acne is connected to a clogged hair follicle.
Now that we know the basics lets talk about the causes of Acne Vulgaris
When hormones are produced in large quantities, they stimulate the sebaceous glands thereby causing it to enlarge and start producing extra sebum. Sebum is the oil which the body produces to moisturize itself. The presence of extra sebum in the follicle increases the chance of clogging and acne. This is the number one cause of acne in adolescents. It is also common with women in their menstrual cycle and pregnant women too. In this case, these breakouts are simply the body’s reaction to the internal changes going on in the body.
It’s so funny how people fail to remember that the body is one big complex Machine and just like all machines, the law is simple “Garbage in, Garbage out” Input and Maintenance is Key. Lifestyle is really very important. Little things really do matter. Things like water intake, personal cleanliness, amount of rest, stress level, etc. You may be given the most effective acne treatment on earth, but if you still lay down on that dirty pillowcase, or use dirty makeup brushes, or wear your makeup to bed, or even fail to tie your hair away from your face when you sleep, you would still break out. You can identify what triggers your breakout by simply monitoring your lifestyle.
3. Poor Skincare Routine
Your Skincare routine matters a lot. The face is the most exposed part of the body and it has a natural process of skin renewal, which we are meant to augment with a bespoke, effective routine. Normally the outermost part of the epidermis is made up of dry anucleated cells which means that over time, there is a build-up of dead cells on the skin surface. Normally, the dead cells within the hair follicle shed gradually and are expelled onto the skin’s surface. But when the sebaceous glands are overactive, the dead skin cells form a plug in the follicle, preventing the skin from finishing its natural process of renewal. In this case, the un-expelled cells clog the pores thereby leading to breakouts. A nicely tailored skincare routine can effectively address this.
4. Bacteria and Inflammation
A common organism found on all skin types is the Bacterium Propionibacterium. It is naturally part of the skin’s sebum maintenance system. Once the follicle is clogged, this Bacterium Propionibacterium multiplies more rapidly, creating the chemical reaction which leads to inflammation in the follicle and it’s surrounding skin. Another form of inflammation occurs when the body encounters an unwanted bacteria. This is why we strongly advise against touching or rubbing your face or acne. Every time you touch your acne, you are introducing more bacteria to the skin and as a result, the body sends an army of white blood cells to attack the intruders. This process is called chemotaxis or inflammation. This is what causes pimples to become red, swollen, and painful.