What Causes Acne

By: Mike Hirn

While the exact cause of acne is not completely understood, the general process is known and we have identified a number of things that will trigger or make it worse. Acne is most commonly related to clogging of the sebaceous glands, hair follicles or pores of they skin. Often this is due to increased levels of androgens, which are the hormones that stimulate the sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin. It is also clear that the bacterial breakdown of the skin's natural oils into fatty substances is somehow involved. The cause is more complex than just having dirty skin, drinking caffeine, stress or eating oily foods such as chocolates. These factors can contribute to outbreaks but research has shown that the cause of acne is actually a combination of many factors.

The number one cause of acne is puberty. This is due to changes in the hormone levels of the body. This leads to the overproduction of oils, which leads to clogged pores and infection. An oily substance called sebum (it's job is to keep skin and hair lubricated and supple) is a main contributing factor. During adolescence, excess amounts of sebum are produced causing pores to become clogged. The pores then become infected with the bacteria P. acnes, thus the name acne.

Any buildup of dirt, oils or cosmetics on the skin can begin the cycle that results in acne. A lack of sufficient exfoliation of skin cells can have the same result. The sebaceous gland is just a few millimeters below the skin's surface. If the top layer of skin is not regularly cleansed and exfoliated to remove pore-clogging dead cells, an outbreak is likely.

Stress can be another major contributing factor for acne. Although people find this very surprising, acne can become more serious as a result of increased stress. The stress alone does not cause the infection but it may lead to a hormonal imbalance. This imbalance causes excessive oil production which, you guessed it, leads to clogged pores and acne.
Genetics also play a part in the problem. There is credible evidence that acne is at least partly hereditary, but we don't know exactly why some people are affected and others are not. The general consensus is that genetics create the potential for problems. Genetics combined with environmental conditions, like clogged pores, determines the severity of an outbreak.

Anything that effects the outer layer of skin can have an effect on the development of acne. This includes the clothes and postures of an individual. Rubbing or abrading the skin, from tight fitting clothes on a hot day for instance, can create the conditions that will lead to infection.
While many people feel that eating chocolate or greasy foods causes acne, experts have found few links between diet and acne. Interestingly it may be refined carbohydrates, rather than chocolate and greasy foods, that could be the cause of teenage acne and pimples. Loren Cordain and scientists at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins have published research showing that refined carbohydrates, like refined bread and cereal, unleash a series of reactions in the body, increasing the production of bacteria that cause acne. In any case, it is important to eat a healthy diet to keep your body in general good health.

The cause of acne is a subject that has been researched extensively by the medical community. It's likely that the true cause of acne is a combination of many factors. The basic cause of acne is plugged oil glands. This can be an inherited condition affected by changing hormone levels within the body. Toxins and wastes are trapped in clogged pores, causing bacterial infection. Many scientists believe genetics, hormones, oil production and diet all play a role. The good news is that numerous studies have shown that the "chocolate factor" is mostly a myth.

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