Just about everyone will suffer from acne at some point in their lives – it’s why that case of pimples is called ‘common acne’.
It’s caused by secretions of the skin’s sebaceous glands. These are naturally occurring ‘oil glands’ that can result in the plugging up of the opening found at the base of facial and other hair. These plugged pores can sometimes take the form of blackheads when the openings are large. These are small black spots that are darker towards the centre. When these pores remain small then the result can be ‘whiteheads’ – these present as small skin tone bumps on the skin. Both of these can become inflamed or form pimples – or even deep hard lumps or nodules. These nodules are most often the result of serious cases of acne which is then known as ‘cystic acne’. These firm swellings can be subject to inflammation and infection and can be extremely tender to the touch.
Although acne is most well known for striking adolescents there are many adults who suffer from the effects of the condition. recent research indicates that around 20% of adults will develop acne. Acne usually starts between the ages of 10 and 13 during puberty – and people with oily skin seem to develop more severe cases. Acne can be expected to remain prevalent for between five to 10 years but should start to clear up when the individual reaches their 20s. Acne is found in both men and women – but teenage boys tend to suffer more. Women are more likely to develop moderate to mild cases of adult acne starting in their 30s.
Acne lesions are most common in the facial area, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the neck, back, chest, upper arms, and shoulders.
Although many people believe that acne is caused by poor diet, inadequate hygiene or high sex drive none of these are factors when it comes to developing acne. It is in fact hereditary factors and hormonal action that cause acne. Doing without chocolate – or scrubbing your face numerous times during the day is not going to change whether or not you will suffer from an embarrassing and unsightly case of acne. If you have acne and are tired of it, check out Dr Schrammek for more resources and information on how to clear your skin.
Causes of Acne
Although (as above) hormones and heredity play their part the full causes of acne are not properly understood. Stress can make acne worse – but it does not cause it.
The Hormone Connection. An increase in hormone production during the teenage years can result in common acne. Both girls and boys produce high levels of androgen during their teenage years. Androgens are male sex hormones that include testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for the increase in the body’s production of sebum, an oily substance produced in oil glands.
The Issue of Bacteria. The overproduction of sebum can clog hair follicle openings. This most commonly affects the face, neck, back, and chest. The appearance of acne is caused by the bacterial buildup in these clogged pores. The resultant whiteheads and blackheads formed on the skin’s surface are also known by the name of ‘comedones.’ In severe cases, these Comedones and the clogging by bacteria can cause the follicle cell walls to burst due to the pressure. When this happens, sebum can leak into nearby tissue and can form a pustule or a papule. when this happens the condition is known as inflammatory acne. The larger and more tender pustules are known as ‘nodules’.
Oral Contraceptives. There are many different types of the ‘pill’ and some can be responsible for acne in women. However, the converse is also true – in some women, the use of the correct oral contraceptive can suppress acne. The use of intrauterine birth control methods (an IUD) and injectible contraceptives can also cause acne. Bodybuilders using steroids can also suffer from severe acne outbreaks.
There are several subtypes of acne. newborns and infants can suffer from Acne Neonatorum and Acne Infantum (this usually affects male children) which takes the form of a pimply rash on the face. Acne Neonatorum typically clears up after a few weeks and has no long-term effects. Acne Infantum can however be longer lasting and more severe, as well as leading to long-term scarring.
Those who did not develop acne during their teenage years may be at greater risk of suffering from adult acne. Doctors believe that this is due to the fact that although androgen levels increase during the teenage years this only plays a minor role in the triggering of acne. What may be at the root of acne is just how the skin responds to the increase in the production of sebum or how the body deals with the bacteria that colonise pores.
Propionibacterium can also cause acne. Propionibacterium acne occurs naturally in even healthy hair follicles. An excess of these bacteria will cause the follicle to become plugged up – and this may lead to the secretion of enzymes that break down the sebum – and in so doing cause inflammation. Some people are particularly sensitive to this process.