Thursday, April 12, 2012

Understanding Acne : Part 1 - Why Do We Get Acne ?

Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous gland (a gland that secretes sebum or oily substance to lubricate the skin). Acne develops when the opening of the gland becomes clogged with sebum and dead skin cells.

Photo source : National Institutes of Health
Schematic view of a sebaceous gland. The gland is found in greatest abundance on the face, upper chest and back - where outbreaks of acne commonly occurs.

Possible causes and factors linked to acne :

1) Hormones

Puberty causes hormone levels to rise, especially testosterone. A hormonal surge signals sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.

 Being a teenager is hard enough, and having acne just makes it worse. Puberty causes elevated levels of male hormone resulting in greasy skin and pimples.

2) Bacteria

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a bacteria that inhabits the skin and uses sebum as a source of nutrient. P. acnes promotes inflammation, causing pustules and papules.

3) Genetics

Acne tends to run in families. Studies suggest that if both parents had acne, 3 out of 4 of their children will have acne. If only one parent had acne, then 1 out of 4 children will have acne.

4) Make-up or Skin Care Products

Oil based make-up, moisturizers and even hair care products may block pores and cause acne.

 Photo source : Allure
 For acne prone skin : It may sound obvious, but what you need is an oil-free lotion or gel, instead of a cream.
5) Contact with garments 

Pressure from helmets, chin straps, collars, suspenders can aggravate acne.

6) Stress

Stress does not cause acne but can aggravate acne in predisposed individuals. Stress causes an increased level of cortisol (a hormone released by the adrenal gland), which stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce sebum.

7) Diseases

Acne may be a symptom of an underlying illness such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Women with this condition also suffer from menstrual disturbances, infertility, excess hair growth and weight gain.

8) Medication

Certain medicines, such as steroids and phenytoin (a drug to treat seizures) can cause acne as a side effect.

The prescription medication Dilantin (Phenytoin)

9) Diet

Chocolate and fried foods are often blamed for causing acne. While these foods may not be good for overall health, there is little evidence that they cause acne. Although some recent studies have implicated dairy products in aggravating acne, these findings are still not well established.


  1. Thanks for sharing information
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