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Causes of Acne

Acne is a primary concern for many people. Acne is a skin disorder of the sebaceous glands, is characterized by comedones and blemishes, and is a hereditary trait that can be triggered by hormonal changes. Acne ranges from mild breakouts to disfiguring cysts and scarring. Acne can be controlled with a proper skin care regimen, helping clear up skin problems.

Causes Of Acne Include The Following:

Clogged Pores
Clogged Pores are caused by a number of factors, such as dead skin cells that do not shed from the follicles as they do on normal skin. Excessive sebum production causes additional cell buildup and blocks the follicle thus causing an acne breakout.

Bacteria in the follicles are anaerobic. This mean they cannot live in the presence of oxygen. When follicles are blocked with sebum and dead skin build up, oxygen cannot reach the bottom of the follicle, resulting in bacteria growth. Salicylic acid helps reduce the shedding of cells within the follicles, thus reducing impactions that exacerbate breakouts.

Cosmetics And Products
Certain ingredients in skin products can aggravate acne. Fatty ingredients such as waxes and oils can clog pores or irritate follicles. Comedogenic ingredients can cause cells to build up. Products rich in emollients and occlusive products are too heavy for problem skin types. Moisturizers and sunscreens should be water based.

Of men's skin problems, one of the most common is acne. Male hormones known as androgens, stimulate sebaceous glands. High levels of the male hormone testosterone cause an increase in oil production and sweat. These hormones increase during puberty, when teen acne is first evident.

Male acne is not limited to the face. Acne bacteria can trigger eruptions any area on the body that has sebaceous glands, such as the chest, shoulders, and back. As men age, acne breakouts taper off because of the gradual decline of sebum production.

Adult acne is more common in females. Hormonal acne is often seen on the chin while cyclical breakouts are often in the perioral area. Hormonal acne may present itself at any stage in life when hormones fluctuate, such as during pregnancy, when using contraceptives, premenstrual changes, and menopause. In females acne is not severe because there is less testosterone production. Hormonal acne is more common in females in the first trimester of pregnancy during which time women produce more testosterone thus making breakouts common. Changes are noticeable as the pregnancy progresses with hormonal problems becoming more evident in the effects they have on the skin.

Stress causes hormonal fluctuations and increased sebum production. The adrenal gland responds to stress and secretes adrenalin, which helps us cope with stressful events. The male hormone androgen is produced by the adrenal gland stimulating the sebaceous gland. Unfortunately, when we have a big event and want to look our best, blemishes may appear because of the increased stress level and sebum production.

Foods blamed for triggering acne may not affect it directly, although our eating habits do affect our bodies' functions. Examples are excessive iodides in salt, MSG, cheese, processed and packaged foods, especially fast foods. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits and increasing water intake seem to help those with acne experience fewer breakouts.

Pressure or friction from rubbing or touching the face, phone use, or wearing hats can contribute to acne breakouts. Dirty pillows or makeup brushes also can transfer bacteria to the face. Keeping hands and items that touch the face clean can help keep the skin from breaking out.

Acne is broken into four grades. The number of lesions, comedones, papules, pustles, or cysts present determines the severity of the acne.

  • Grade I: Minor breakouts, mostly open comedones, some closed comedones, and a few papules and pustules.
  • Grade II: Many closed comedones, more open comedones, and more papules and pustules.
  • Grade III: Red and inflamed, many papules and pustules.
  • Grade IV: Cystic acne with comedones, papules, pustules, and inflammation are present.