What You Think You Know About Acne…..

I’m sure from time we have all wondered what causes the dreaded pimple  and how long does it take for them to form not to mention how long do they last!  All very good questions and with this blog im probably going to challenge what you thought you knew about acne!

The answers are a bit confusing as to date science has not been able to pinpoint a clear reason for the formation of acne. Still, the conclusion that has been reached in this regard is that the oil glands in the skin that secrete oil cause these pustules. These glands become larger at the time of puberty making it obvious why teenagers struggle with acne the most. (well that and hormones)

Their Root Cause

Pimples start out in the hair follicles more than 2 weeks before you can even see them! So once you feel like you may be getting one act right away and immediately start a preventive treatment regime.

first and foremost, how are pimples relate to hair follicles? Hair follicles contain oil glands that contain a substance called as sebum. This sebum after being formed in the hair follicle slowly travels its way upwards towards the surface of the skin. Hormones that are released in the body play a vital role in deciding how much sebum will be produced by your sebaceous glands.

The hormone Androgen and Progesterone trigger excessive production of sebum in both men and women and those who have high levels of these hormones have acne prone skin. Sebum travels its way to the skin surface picks up dirt, debris and free radicals from the air as it gets closer to the surface. It then blocks the skin’s pores, clogging the hair follicles. Bacteria attack the skin when it is clogged by sebum or perspiration. This bacteria scientifically known as P. acne which lives on your skin and turns into malicious harmful acne, thriving and growing in the clogged and that’s where cystic acne is born.

All this takes anything from 2-4 weeks to happen, ample time for you to take action!

Types And Causes

Acne comes in various forms and the most common ones are blackheads and whiteheads. These are harmless non-inflammatory acne but non the less can make your face unsightly and make your self esteem go down the toilet.

If the bacterium infects a whitehead, a papule or pustule- a pimple forms. This type of acne is inflammatory by nature and can be any where from mild to severe. In very severe cases of acne, cysts and nodules develop, rupture and spread infection thereby causing permanent scars.

Don’t be alarmed by oil, everyone secretes oil from their glands but unfortunately some secrete more than others. Genetics play a major roll here, so does pregnancy and other hormonal fluctuations in the body. All cause acne! Other modern day factors like stress, pollution and changes in diet have also been known to cause pimples. YES, I said changes in diet folks. So if you are prone to acne beware of what you are putting in your body!

The dead cells on the skin that seem harmless enough can also clog the hair follicles and become a cause for distress- pimples.

So remember earlier I said Hormones can cause acne as well?  As young people mature form childhood to adolescence (puberty) The hormones that cause physical maturation also cause the sebaceous (oil) glands of the skin to produce more sebum (oil). The hormones with the greatest effect on sebaceous glands are androgens (male hormones), which are present in females as well as males, but in higher amounts in males.

During puberty, the cells of the skin that line the follicle begin to shed more rapidly. In people who develop acne, cells shed and stick together more so than in people who do not develop acne. When cells mix with the increased amount of sebum being produced, they can plug the opening of the follicle. Meanwhile, the sebaceous glands continue to produce sebum, and the follicle swells up with sebum. In addition, the normal skin bacteria (P.acnes) begin to multiply rapidly in the clogged hair follicle. In the process, these bacteria produce irritating substances that can cause inflammation. Sometimes, the wall of the follicle bursts, spreading inflammation to the surrounding skin. This is the process by which acne lesions, from blackheads to pimples to nodules, are formed.

STRESS

We all have it no matter how much we try to avoid it! And yes this does wreak havoc on our skin. Stress can have many physiologic effects on the body, including changes in hormones that may theoretically lead to acne. In some cases the stress may actually be caused by the acne lesions, not the other way around!

Lack Of Sleep

In several studies it’s been proven that sleep deprivation contributes to a number of health problems including acne. Like air and water, sleep is a necessary part of life. The body uses this downtime for healing and making necessary repairs to cells, organs, and other bodily functions. Not getting enough sleep affects two factors that contribute to the development of acne: inflammation and insulin resistance. These factors can throw off the body’s hormones and cause the overproduction of sebum which clogs pores and leads to skin eruptions. Have you ever heard of the old saying “Get your beauty rest”? Well, it’s true.

Acne Treatments

So now we know a little bit of the background on acne, what causes it, how long it actually takes for a pimple to form, but how long does it take for one to go away? The answer is this: Unfortunately it varies depending on several factors. With out medication you can count on a longer shelf life of your annoying pimple (maybe a few months) With treatment usually 10 days on average.

Re-Cap

What causes acne:

• Hormones and hormonal balance
• Genes
• Stress
• Environment
• Medication
• Diet
• Cosmetic products
• Lack of sleep

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