Acne is a condition wherein the sebaceous glands found in the skin are inflamed and/or infected, manifesting in red pimples. The sebaceous glands typically secrete oil, otherwise known as sebum, which lubricates the skin and the hair. Sebum moves up the hair shafts, going through the openings of the hair follicles and on the surface of the skin. When sebum production becomes excessive and if the skin sheds dead skin cells faster, these two start to accumulate and clog up the root of the hair follicle. This can create the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
There are different causes of acne; however, some presumed causes are myths. Below are misconstrued causes of acne:
- Oily foods and chocolate have been proven by studies that they have direct effect on the development of acne.
- Dirty skin. Contrary to popular belief, people with acne do not necessarily have dirty skin. Some people may have strict skin care regimen and still have persistent acne because of some other real reason such as unnatural overproduction of sebum.
- In addition to these mythical acne factors, below are some other practices that are not true in treating acne:
- Frequent washing keeps acne from breaking out. The bare minimum for keeping away dirt, excess oil, and dead skin cells from accumulation is simple cleansing with a soap or wash that’s gentle enough for the facial skin. As a matter of fact, too much cleansing and vigorous scrubbing can irritate the skin, which may increase the likelihood of developing or worsening acne.
- Popping the pimples will help remove them. This is in fact, false. Popping pimples especially with unclean hands, will only wound the skin and aggravate the affected area, causing the pimple to stay longer.
- Tanning the skin will help clear acne. Tanning has nothing to do with acne. It may just temporarily cover the redness. But this is just because there is lesser contrast between the redness and the darker hue.
The real major causes of acne are:
- Heredity: If any of the parents or relatives has acne, there is a big chance of getting acne from them. The type of skin and tendency of its sebaceous glands to release higher levels of sebum may be inherited leading to acne.
- Follicle fallout: When dead skin cells are being shed so that they can be replaced with new ones, the hair follicle may get clogged with the old cells, blocking sebum from surfacing. This blockage results in acne.
- Overproduction of sebum: There are cases wherein, there is little to no blockage. It’s just that there is too much sebum being released by the glands so that it gets backed up, resulting in pimples.
- Hormones: The effect of hormones is most apparent in women, especially when they are through their menstrual cycle, wherein the hormone activity is fluctuating. It is for this reason that some women develop acne at a certain time of the month. This case however is not always true for all women.
- Stress: Stress is also one of the causes of acne. Stress results in production of stress hormones in the body, which may manifest in adverse reaction to the sebaceous glands, leading to the production of more sebum. Other manifestation of stress can be the closing up of pores, aggravating the sebum blockage.