Acne: What you need to know
Acne is a skin condition that causes whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed red growths, these growths are commonly known as pimples or “zits.” The pores of our skin contain oil glands known as sebaceous glands; these glands produce oil called sebum. Sebum is important to maintain healthy skin and nails. Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands produce more sebum than the amount required for maintenance thus causing the pores to clog. When the pores become blocked, dirt, debris, bacteria and inflammatory cells can build up. The top of the clogged pore may be white (whitehead) or black (blackhead), if the plug breaks open, the material inside causes swelling and red bumps to form, and if the inflammation is deep in your skin, the pimples may enlarge to form firm, painful cysts.
Site and Reasons of Occurrence
Acne can occur on any part of the body however people are mostly concerned with their face. Sebum on the face is generally concentrated on the forehead, nose and chin which combined is known as the T-zone. To get a fair idea of your skin’s susceptibility to overproducing sebum, take a tissue paper and dab on the T-zone when you wake up to see the amount of sebum that has been produced overnight. It will give you a fair idea about the susceptibility of your skin to acne. The face is the most visited region by our hands, which can expose it to a lot of dirt and bacteria; this is why there is often more acne there.
Acne may be hereditary and can be triggered by:
· Hormonal changes related to menstrual periods, pregnancy, birth control pills, or stress
· Greasy or oily cosmetic and hair products
· Certain drugs (such as steroids, testosterone, estrogen, and phenytoin)
· High levels of humidity and sweating
· Diets high in refined sugars.
o Despite the popular belief that chocolate, nuts, and greasy foods cause acne, research does not confirm this idea.
Although acne is more prominent in teenagers due to hormonal changes, some people in their 30s to 40s may have it as well.
Oily skin can be hereditary but hormones also play a role. Oil production is stimulated by hormone production so any fluctuation in hormones can cause acne. In women, these fluctuations are often caused by menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. For both men and women however, physical and/or emotional stress can be a factor as well.
There are numerous natural and medical remedies for acne.
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