Causes of Acne
To understand acne, you need to take a close look at your skin’s hair follicles and oil glands (called the sebaceous glands). Hormones and other factors can cause your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, a natural oil in your body.
While your follicles, sebum and even P. acnes are all naturally occurring, there are certain triggers that tend to get acne started:
- Hormone changes due to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or starting/stopping birth control pills.
- Genetics. A tendency for acne may be inherited from your parents.
- Certain drugs, particularly androgens (steroids), amphetamines, and lithium.
- Cosmetics with an oily base may contribute to plugged follicles.
However, as your skin exfoliates, the dead cells adhere to the sticky sebum and plug up your skin’s pores. These plugs can’t be washed away with regular soap and water, and beneath the plug, P. acnes bacteria thrive causing swelling, redness, and lesions. If the walls of the plugged follicle weaken, they can rupture, spreading the contents to surrounding tissue.
Acne. If you have it, you’re not alone. Nearly all teens have acne at some point due to hormonal changes. It’s even common to see acne during someone’s 20s, 30s or even 40s. That’s why it’s important for any of us fighting acne to understand what it is, and how it can be treated—and controlled.
Types of acne
Acne is a general term that typically describes four types of skin irritations:
These types of acne are what most people experience and are considered mild to moderate acne. Severe acne, on the other hand, forms deep lumps beneath the skin and may require extra treatment from a dermatologist.
Once you understand the causes of acne, it's also good to know what you can do to keep acne under control. Although you can't help being the victim of some of the root causes of acne, you can try to avoid these factors that can make existing acne worse: