What is the Cause of Acne?

Acne is an unpleasant skin condition and for most sufferers. The main cause of acne is a change of hormones within the body when a person reaches puberty.

Occurring in about 80% of adolescents, acne most often affects the face, neck, back and chest. The cause of acne is the surge in the production of hormones called androgens, which are the culprits behind the overstimulation of sebum from the sebaceous (oil) producing glands.

The main purpose of sebum is to maintain the suppleness of the skin, but where it occurs in over abundance, it creates more problems than it solves and is the underlying cause of acne.

When oil on the skins surface combines with dead skin cells and bacteria, pores become blocked. This then becomes a cause of acne and the bacteria inside the blocked pore starts to multiply, resulting in spots and pimples.

There are many products available that are supposed to maintain healthy skin and inhibit acne. However, many of them contain ingredients that are actually too harsh and trigger the sebaceous glands into the overproduction of sebum, which is the actual cause of acne.

Besides androgens, there are other hormones that have been found to be a cause of acne. Cortisol is produced at higher levels when humans are affected by stress and it has been scientifically proven to aggravate acne.

Acne can also be a hereditary condition. It does tend to run in families leading specialists to believe there may also be a genetic cause of acne.

Sometimes, certain drugs we are prescribed to treat other ailments can be a possible cause of acne. These include steroids and oral contraceptives. Despite this, there are certain hormone regulating oral contraceptives, which are actually prescribed to treat acne and certain other skin problems.

Androgens are perhaps the most common cause of acne and the sufferers of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) have extremely high levels of androgens as it is one of the symptoms of the condition. Therefore, PCOS sufferers are highly likely to develop skin problems and acne.

Acne can often cause extensive scarring, leaving unpleasant marks on the skin, sometimes for life. To minimise the chances of this happening, it is important for the acne sufferer to try and resist picking and squeezing at spots as this causes the infection to travel deeper into the skin, hence initiating further damage.

Acute inflammatory acne resulting in the development of large cysts under the surface of the skin can occur in some people. Sadly, even if the sufferer resists the urge to pick at these cysts, they usually result in scars due to their tendency to spread and rupture spontaneously.

Poor diet and poor hygiene though often cited are not the root cause of acne, although it is obvious that if a person fails to regularly wash their skin and remove all traces of make-up, problems with their skin will occur.

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