DOES ACNE DEVELOP
Acne usually starts when the body begins to mature around age 11 for girls and age 13 for
Acne develops when the sebaceous glands and the lining of the skin duct, become plugged
because of an over production of sebum due to hormonal changes that are at their peak in
the teen years. This sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. Each hair follicle
contains sebaceous glands that secrete sebum, to lubricate your hair and skin.
One of the jobs of the sebum is to carry cells shed by the glands to the surface of the
skin. But because the excess sebum is blocking the openings of the glands, called ducts,
both cells and sebum accumulate, forming a plug called a comedo. INFLAMMATORY ACNE
Some people suffer from inflammatory acne. With inflammatory acne, the whiteheads
become inflamed. Pimples and pustules develop and there will be a constant outbreak
covering the face, and sometimes the neck, back, chest and groin. These pus filled pimples
can cause disfiguring cysts, deep pitting and scarring.
Prescription drugs and sometimes surgery may be needed
to treat severe inflammatory acne if all other treatments have failed.
WHITEHEADS - BLACKHEADS
This plug ( comedo ) can block the pore, causing the follicle wall to bulge, this creates
a whitehead. If the pore stays open, the top surface of the plug may darken, causing a
blackhead. The black color of a blackhead comes from a normal skin pigment that darkens
when exposed to air. A whitehead develops if a pore is so clogged that no air can enter.
Pimples, are small pus filled bumps. They are infections that develop when whiteheads
rupture the hair follicle's wall. After the rupture, solidified sebum, dead cells, and
bacteria invade your skin.
CYSTS OR NODULES
Ruptures deep within the skin can form boil like infections these are called cysts. A very
deep inflammation causes tender red lumps, they are painful and pus filled. They can be as
large as half an inch. Cysts heal with scars due to the depth of the infection. This
condition is called cystic acne.
Androgen plays a role in acne. Androgens are male sex hormones. Among other things,
androgens stimulate the sebum-producing glands. After puberty, boys produce 10 times as
much androgens as girls, and so it's not surprising that more boys than girls develop
severe cases of acne. Studies have found that many teenage girls and women with acne have
higher than normal androgen levels.
Bacteria called Corynebacterium acnes, which cause skin fats to break down into irritating
chemicals, can also directly contribute to an outbreak.
Since hormonal changes stimulate sebaceous glands and increase sebum production and the
chance of acne in later life, as well as in adolescence, anything that raises hormone
levels, such as stress, menstrual periods, pregnancy, the use of birth control pills or
certain medications, such as corticosteroids, may aggravate acne. Progesterone also plays
a role in women.
OTHER THINGS THAT CAN CAUSE ACNE
Certain drugs, such as those used to treat epilepsy or tuberculosis; exposure to
industrial oils, grease, chemicals stress and strong emotions. Some oily cosmetics and
shampoos can, on rare occasions, trigger acne in people who are prone to get it.
You may have heard that certain foods, such as chocolate, nuts, cola drinks, potato chips,
french fries, and other junk foods cause acne or make it worse. There's no scientific
evidence to back up these claims but if you notice that outbreaks increase after you have
eaten certain foods, it only makes sense to eat as little of them as possible.
Today with proper treatment, acne can usually be treated successfully and controlled
before it becomes totally unsightly. If pimples pop out for that big affair, don't let it
distress you, I'll bet your date has some too.
| Adult Acne | Skin Care Index
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Revised: May 19, 2002.