Acne is by far the most common type of skin condition all over the world. It is most prevalent in adolescents and young adults, but this skin ailment can affect you at any given age (as seen by the fact that many folks are still battling with this condition well into their fifties!). The magnitude of this condition calls for a deeper analysis. What is acne? How does it form? What are its causes? These are just a few questions that need to be addressed if we are going to have a breakthrough in dealing with this condition.
Acne (medically referred to as Acne Vulgaris) is a type of skin disease that is characterized by the clogging of the hair follicles (1). First, a quick lesson as to how this occurs.
The skin contains sebaceous glands that secrete sebum (an oily substance that moisturizes the skin's top layer and the hairs). Some of the body parts that have higher concentrations of the oil glands include the back, shoulders, chest, neck and the face (coincidentally, those are the sections where acne forms)(2).
Although sebum is beneficial to the skin, overproduction of it does more harm than good. Acne typically starts at as a result of a surge in hormone levels (predominant hormones being androgens and testosterone). These hormones unsettle the skin's usual processes preventing the normal shedding of the dead cells. This results in them piling up and sticking together on the skin's surface causing blockage, and consequently acne. Also, hormones stimulate the oil glands in the skin by making them over reactive which leads to the overproduction of sebum.
The moment the sebum combines with the already piled up dead skin, they clog up the skin follicles. A Whitehead (small, round and white acne bumps) will be formed if the blocked follicle is close to the skin's surface while a blackhead (a specific kind of dark acne lesion) is formed if the plug is on top of the follicle (2).
Also, bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes, even though they are harmless under normal conditions, tend to thrive and be harmful when the skin pores are oily, and the follicles are plugged. When plugged pores expand, they are more likely to break, exposing them to the bacteria that then brings about an inflammatory reaction which causes swelling and redness (3).
If the inflammation occurs below the surface of the skin, many small red bumps known as papules appear (with or without pus). If the inflammation occurs above the skin, pus filled spots known as pustules or pimples will appear (3). The walls of the skin pores may also burst due to pressure, which leaks fluid and bacteria to the surrounding skin causing acne nodules (larger deeper lesions). To contain this damage, fluid sacs will be created by the immune system causing painful boil-like lesions called cysts. That how acne form, which introduces us to the post’s main topic; what are the causes of teenage and adult acne?
Causes of Teenage Acne
Causes of Adult Acne
So, as you have seen, the causes of teenage and adult acne tend to differ—teen acne is predominantly brought about by puberty, while in adults is mostly about hormonal disruption. This information will be vital in helping you take proper care of your skin and to do away the many myths revolving around acne. If you find yourselves having persistent acne, it is advisable you check with your doctor for a deeper analysis. In the meantime, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition should keep acne issues in check.