What Causes Acne?

Although we know some of the biology behind acne we do not fully understand the various acne causes. For instance, what may be some of the causes for sudden acne breakouts?

Although some of the myths or semi-myths surrounding acne say that chocolate causes acne, sunburn causes acne, or oily skin causes acne, most researchers feel that one of the main causes of acne is an excessive amount of an oily substance called sebum.

Sebum is necessary for keeping your hair and skin lubricated and supple. Unfortunately during your adolescence, your body produces more sebum than is required. Perhaps this helps to explain the causes of acne in teenagers.

This substance combines with dead skin cells that are naturally occurring and serves to block your hair follicles. The blocking of your hair follicles prevents your sebum from escaping. This is thought to be one of the causes for acne in teenagers.

By blocking the escape of sebum, your sebum becomes trapped beneath the surface of your skin. This condition results in a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria. This bacteria then multiplies and your skin becomes red and inflamed. This condition results in what we call a pimple.

Testosterone which is a male hormone is responsible for causing your body to produce excess sebum. Both boys and girls produce testosterone. However during puberty your body changes how it reacts to the presence of this hormone.

The abnormal reaction to testosterone which appears during your adolescent years causes your skin to become excessively oily. By the time you reach your early 20s your body has normalized the way it reacts to testosterone and your acne will normally clear up. Adult acne is much less common than teenage acne.

Unfortunately acne appears to be partially hereditary. However most researchers do not know why it is that some folks are affected when others skate by.

We have begun to figure out that some lifestyle conditions can aggravate acne. Some of those conditions include diet, certain medications, stress, skin irritation, and even certain hormonal activities like menstrual cycles.

Some of the medications that seemed to be associated with having acne include some of the following: lithium, barbiturates, halogens, androgens, and anabolic steroids used for bodybuilding. Some of the dietary causes are thought to be related to skim milk products.

Some folks believe there is an association between foods such as chocolate, fast foods, and pimples. However most researchers have not found any statistical evidence that these foods cause or aggravate acne.

More recent research from the scientific community has been looking at the narrowing of your hair follicles as being one cause of acne. Your hair follicles might become restricted because of a number of possible causes. These include an excess shedding of your cells within your follicle, or what is called abnormal cell binding, or even water retention which will cause your skin to swell.

This narrowing of your hair follicles keep your dead cells from leaving. This entrapment causes an excess buildup beneath your skin. This buildup when combined with sebum creates an ideal condition for acne.

Most folks find themselves tempted to squeeze and pop their pimples. However doing this will only spread the bacteria to other areas of your skin creating a worsening of your condition. By popping your pimples you may also create scarring which can very easily become permanent. Popping your pimples is one of the causes of acne scars.

Even touching your face can make your acne worse. We understand that touching your face is a difficult habit to break-we all have a tendency to touch our faces numerous times throughout the day.

Unfortunately for folks with acne touching your face is a big no no. Your hands contain oil and bacteria which makes your acne worse. You must insure that anything coming in contact with your face is clean. Included in this list are telephones, glasses and hair.

It is especially important to keep your hair away from your face. Also hats, headbands, and other clothing accesories should not be allowed to contact your face.