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Acne, Sebum & Soap

May 9, 2008
Sebum is commonly associated with acne. It is believed that excess sebum causes acne and that sebum production is one of the main causes of sebum. In a recent study done at the Seoul National University, research was conducted to find a precise relation between acne and sebum. The study found that-

The subjects with acne had higher sebum on the skin. Compared to subject without acne. The study also found out that there was no direct relation between the quantity of acne lesions and sebum production. The research has concluded that patients with acne have higher sebum production but that increased level of sebum does not directly cause acne. That means that only excess sebum does not cause more acne, but some other factors may be involved.

Sebum and its role in Acne formation-

Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands. When the sebum gets accumulated in the gland, acne forms. If bacteria invaded the fluid, the acne gets infected. Even if you have a oily skin you may not develop acne unless the gland gets blocked. If the gland is open the sebum will pour out on the skin. With blockage of the gland, sebum gets accumulated and acne forms.

Therefore if you have acne, try to keep the glands open. Also try to keep bacteria away. If the gland is open excess sebum will not cause acne. The more important factor in causing acne is therefore blockage of the gland.

Acne treatment is a tough job for one who has it. They want acne to disappear overnight. But that does not happen. Soap has a role in treatment of acne. Some patients use soaps that peel off the skin and make it very dry assuming that acne will be treated faster. Does that really help or irritate the skin further? Some patients want to feel the skin soft and use soap with moisturizer. Some want the soap to have good perfume and want to feel good after washing. What kind of soap works well for acne patients? Let us find out.

Let us begin with the simple question- why do we use soap? We use soap to remove all the dirt, grime and impurity from the skin. Every other factor such as perfume etc. is secondary. Does your soap emulsify all the dirt and other impurities on your skin? Do you feel that your skin looks very clean after washing? If yes, that soap is right for you if you have acne. What about soap that removes more oils from the skin and makes it dry to very dry? This kind of soap is used because many people believe that oil or sebum alone is the main cause of acne. Please note here that sebum is one of the causes of acne, but by itself it cannot cause acne. If the gland opening is clear the excess oil/sebum will flow away and no acne will form. Therefore stop irritating your acne with harsh soaps. A moisturizer has no role to play in acne treatment. It keeps the moisture in and keeps skin hydrated.

Try to use a neutral soap with pH of 7. Acidic soap will cause unnecessary irritation. First look at the main function of soap, which is cleansing property. Think of perfume etc. later. Wash your face gently twice a day and dry the skin. Apply your topical medicine after that. It will reach the depth of skin faster.

This article is only for informative purposes. This article is not intended to be a medical advise and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor for your medical concerns. Please follow any tip given in this article only after consulting your doctor. The author is not liable for any outcome or damage resulting from information obtained from this article.
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