Technical Reasons Why Acne Occurs
Generally, acne occurs because of the buildup of keratin (protein-like secretions of the skin) and sebum (oily secretions of the skin) in pores, sweat glands and hair follicles.
This blockage can simply result in a clogged pore and/or blackhead formation, or can result in the enlargement of nearby glands (this can lead to whitehead formation), or can sometimes lead to the accumulation of bacteria in the pore or follicle, which can lead to infected acne inflammations.
Acne-affected skin and poor complexion generally occur in the teenage years, however the trend of acne continuing into adulthood is becoming more commonplace.
General Acne Signs and Symptoms
The areas most commonly affected by acne are the face, scalp and the skin in the neck region. Plus, the chest, back, shoulders and buttocks areas can be affected by acne. Generally, anywhere keratin and sebum accumulation is the greatest.
Acne affected areas can show signs of blackhead and whitehead development, as well as the formation of red acne lesions.
However, not all signs of acne show up on the surface of the skin. Sometimes, acne can develop underneath the skin where most topical skin cleansers, exfoliants and creams cannot reach. This type of acne causes bumps underneath the outer layers of the skin and can become inflamed and painful or become very hard and long-lasting.
Acne can also affect the mental health of a person. Reduced self-esteem is a commonly psychological consequence of acne development and tends to range from social insecurity to hostility and sometimes even depression.
Identified Sources for Acne Development
Dead Skin Cells Buildup
Poor hygiene has many unpleasant consequences and acne is one of them.
This relates to poor hygiene. Many bacteria thrive in areas of poor hygienic regions, their activities can result in acne development; sometimes in severe acne development.
Increased hormonal activity, especially during menstruation and puberty, can trigger acne.
Some people are just more prone to developing acne because of the tendency to develop acne can run in their family.
This relates to increased hormonal activity because stress increases the release of hormones from the adrenal glands.
Use of Certain Medications and Supplements
Side-effects of many medications (especially mind and mood altering medications), hormone therapies and steroid supplements can cause acne.
Diet Related Sources:
A person's diet and dietary habits also play a role in the development of acne. Even though a few experts claim that food does not affect acne, there is a lot of evidence that supports that what you eat or don't eat can, in fact, increase your chances of developing acne. A poor diet and the lack of essential vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals can definitely lead to poor overall health and eventually acne.
There even are some foods that can be linked to increasing the chances of acne development:
The increased use of hormones in dairy cows has been linked to the increase of hormones and hormonal by-products in milk. Though this link is still yet to be confirmed by on-going research, many dermatologists support the idea that those affected by acne should try to refrain from consuming dairy products to see if their complexion will improve.
Refined and Processed Foods
Eating more of these foods leads to high glycemic, carbohydrate and saturated fat in-take, which in-turn increases the creation of fats that are secreted as sebum.
Seafood currently contains high levels of iodine. Iodine is known to make existing acne worse.
Deficiencies in Nutrients
Especially Vitamin E deficiencies. In recent studies, patients with sever acne tend to have lower levels of vitamin E circulating in their bloodstream than those that are not affected by acne. In addition, people suffering from acne tend to have lower blood levels of vitamin A.
Common Myths about Acne
There are many misconceptions, myths, and old wives' tales about acne.
Blackheads are not made of dirt
Even though they are black and clog pores, blackheads get their color from the buildup of the secretion of keratin, which turns a dark color over time. Keratin buildups and blockages are formed by the failure of the process in which pores or hair follicles push or excrete keratin to the surface of the skin where it is easily removed by normal cleansing.
Acne will go away on its own
While your acne may eventually go away on its own, it can leave permanent scars on your skin that could have been prevented if you had treated your acne.
Cosmetics will make acne worse
It is true that many creams, oils and greases can aggravate your acne, there are many cosmetic products you can use that do not, including sunscreens, moisturizers and foundations. Those that do not aggravate acne are termed “non-acnegenic."
Picking or squeezing a pimple is a good way to get rid of it quickly
Squeezing or picking can damage the cells under your skin and cause the pimple to be inflamed or leave a permanent scar. As tempting as it is, you will be better off in the long run to leave them alone and let them heal on their own.
A sun tan will improve your acne
A tan can actually damage your pores and dry your skin, especially if it is oily, and make it seem better in the short term, but it will eventually get worse again.
Only teenagers get acne
You can get acne at any age. Statistics show that 25% of all people between the ages 25-44 have acne. Many adult women have acne because of the constant fluctuation of their hormones during each menstrual cycle. Some medications, like some types of birth control pills, as well as being pregnant can also contribute to adult acne.
Masturbating does not cause acne
Masturbating, abstinence, or regular sexual intercourse cannot cause or cure acne. However, certain increases in hormonal levels, like during puberty or menstruation, can instigate acne.