Acne: Let’s Understand It

Acne is the most common skin problem generally associated with teenagers. Commonly, it is also known as a pimple. In medical terminology, it is referred to as is Acne Vulgaris (AV).

Let’s understand what Acne is?

Acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin that affects the face, neck, chest and even back. Acne can be of different types such as nodules, blackheads, whiteheads, etc.  

The American Academy of Dermatology states that acne is the most prevalent skin disease in the United States. It is an infectious disease that occurs in people of almost all parts of the world. 

If you are suffering from pimples, don’t worry almost every individual suffers from this infection at least once in a lifetime. 

Causes of Acne

There can be various reasons for developing acne. Several factors contribute to acne. one and the foremost reason for acne production is clogging of skin pores due to overproduction of sebum and accumulation of dead cells. Other factors such as bacterial growth, worsen the condition and leads to inflammation. 

Let’s know about the causes of acne one by one. 

Overproduction of Sebum: Sebum is an oil secreted from sebaceous glands present in the skin that lubricates the skin and the hair follicles. If the production of sebum increases in the skin due to any reason, it interacts with the dead skin and dirt present in the skin and clogs the skin pores, forming a plug-like structure known as comedones

Bacterial Infection: Another reason for acne formation is a bacterial infection. Harmless bacteria present in the sebaceous glands break the sebum into simpler forms that lead to inflammation of the skin. Thus, inflammation of acne skin is due to bacterial infection. Bacteria present normally in the skin are Propionibacterium acnes. Other bacterial species that also contribute to inflamed skin is Staphylococcus aureus. 

Psychology: Scientific studies prove that stress and acne are corelated with each other. Increased stress level leads to acne outburst. 

Hormonal Changes: Androgen is the hormone responsible for the production of acne during puberty. Increased secretion on androgen in the body during puberty causes increased sebum production that thereby contributes to acne formation. Acne formed due to increased hormonal production as called hormonal acne. Hormonal acne is even common during pregnancy. Women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may have acne.

Genetics: Genetics also plays an important role in acne formation. Any family history of acne or acne prone skin leads to acne development in children. It has been found that genes responsible for acne formation are hereditary. So, there are few things good or bad, with which we are born and cannot be avoided.  

Diet: One thing that cannot be ignored when you have acne prone skin is your diet. What you eat is directly related to how healthy your skin is. Yet, there are no pieces of evidence to prove this. It is considered that food with a high glycemic index contributes to acne formation.  So, if your skin is acne prone, then you should be careful while choosing your food. 

There are do’s and don’ts for acne prone skin. Medical stores have wide options for this problem. Herbal medicines, therapies, cosmetics and skin care products are available in the market today but none of these provide a permanent solution to the problem. 

Acne comes and goes and again comes back. This is what frustrates an individual. Advancement in medical science provides the solution but results are still the same. 

I hope this post will be helpful in understanding the biology behind Acne. In the next post, I will cover the treatments available to treat acne. Till then stay healthy, stay happy.

About Dr Namrata, Ph.D.

Author is a PhD in Botany (Environmental Science) with keen interest in Biotechnology and Research work. Currently, she is a full time blogger, posting her views and thoughts related to Science and Life.

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