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Acne - The Causes of Acne Attacks

Jun 21, 2008
Acne is the leading skin concern for most adult men and women, and even teenagers. Individuals of all races and of both genders deal with this notorious skin condition. How does acne start?

Acne is not a product of a person's action rather; it is a manifestation of factors that happen within the body. Acne that is visible on the skin has developed 2-3 weeks beforehand internally. This happens on a certain part of the skin called hair follicles. Hair follicles are associated with sebaceous glands that produce a kind of oil called sebum and pierce the skin through holes called pores. Skin renewal is a process wherein old skin cells die, mixing with sebum and are removed from the body.

But the removal process is different for every individual. Some people have uneven shedding, causing the old cells to stick together forming a plug or "comedo" inside the hair follicle. The "comedo" usually traps sebum and bacteria. The sebaceous glands continue producing sebum and white blood cells attack the bacteria. These events result to a pimple or acne.

Therefore, the appearance of acne is determined by a variety of factors, often uncontrolled by an individual. Genetics plays an important role in the development of acne. Inheritance of this condition is one cause. Others with no family history have other causes, usually not a single one.

Hormonal imbalance is one primary cause of acne. Usually this starts during teenage years, when they hit puberty. Androgens are hormone produced by the body from this stage forward. Normally they enlarge sebaceous glands. However, those with acne have sensitive sebaceous glands. The glands over stimulates to produce much sebum. Hormones are also responsible for the cyclic appearance of pimples during menstruation, or pregnancy.

Overproduction of sebum worsens the plugged condition of the follicle. Sebum mixes with the old cells and bacteria. This common process is aggravated by too much sebum in the skin. Trapped sebum in the follicle attracts more bacteria to the infected site. Too much sebum increases the likelihood of developing plugs in the hair follicle during the skin shedding process.

Besides sebum, bacterial infection of the plug results to acne appearance. "Propionibacterium acnes" is a common bacteria residing in the skin. It is part of the shedding process. However, when a plug is formed in the follicle, this bacterium finds the site favorable for multiplication and reproduction. This process increases the bacteria inside the plug and worsens the condition. The presence of many bacteria triggers the immune system to release more white blood cells into the area thus causing inflammation.

Inflammation is caused by the reaction between the bacteria and the white blood cells of the immune system. As the cells fight off the bacteria, the site swells, giving the red-bump appearance of acne. The inflammatory response is more pronounced in adult women, although it can also be seen in all individuals.

Although there is no cure for acne, several treatments are available in the market. Their efficacy varies among individuals. Therefore, the best way of combating this undesirable infection is to prevent it before it happens.
About the Author
The author is an online medical researcher and webmaster of Acne Products and Acne Treatment. Related article: Natural Acne Treatment - Tea Tree Oil.
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