Questions and Answers about Acne This article has inside some general notes about acne. It informs what acne is and how it evolves, the causes of acne and its various forms. If you have any questions after reading this article, you are recommended to discuss them with your doctor.
Just What Exactly Is Acne? Acne is a common affliction resulting from the action of hormones and other substances on the skin’s oil glands and or the hair follicles. These many factors lead to clogged pores and outbreaks of lesions commonly called pimples. Acne lesions or plugs usually occur on the face, neck, back, chest, and or the shoulders. Even though acne is usually not considered a serious health threat, it can often be a source of great emotional distress. Severe acne can even lead to permanent, unpleasant scarring.
What Are The Many Causes Acne? The singular cause of acne is still not known, but many doctors believe it comes from several related factors. An important factor is the increase in hormones called androgens (male hormones, these increase in both boys and girls when puberty strikes, causing the sebaceous glands to become larger and then make more sebum. The hormonal changes that related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills can also cause acne. Researchers also believe that the tendency to gain acne can be inherited from ones parents. For instance, studies have shown that many young boys with acne have a large family history of the affliction. Certain drugs, including androgens and lithium, are known to cause acne. Certain greasy makeups can alter the cells of the follicles and make them stick together, producing a plug.
Just How Does Acne Develop and Why? Doctors often describe acne as a disease of the pilosebaceous units. Found over most of the body, pilosebaceous units consist of a sebaceous gland connected to a canal, called the follicle that contains a hair. These items are most numerous on the face, the upper back, and the chest. The sebaceous glands can cause an oily substance called sebum that usually empties onto the skin’s surface through the opening of the follicle, called a pore.
The hair, sebum, and keratinocytes that fill the narrow follicle could produce a plug, which is one of the early sign of acne. The plug often prevents sebum from reaching the surface of the skin through the pore. The mixture of the oils and cells allows bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes that normally grow on the skin to enlarge in the plugged follicles. These bacterias can produce harsh chemicals and enzymes that soon attract white blood cells, the white blood cells cause inflammation. When the wall of the plugged follicle begins to break down, it erupts everything onto the nearby skin—sebum, shed skin cells, and bacteria—leading to lesions or pimples.
The Many Kinds of Lesions People with acne frequently have a variety of lesions. The basic acne lesion, called the comedo (KOM-e-do), is simply an enlarged and plugged hair follicle. If the comedo stays beneath the skin, it is called a closed comedo and produces a white bump called a whitehead. Other troublesome acne lesions can develop, including the following:
• Papules. Inflamed lesions that usually appear as small, pink bumps on the skin and can be tender to the touch. • Pustules (pimples). Papules topped by white or yellow pus-filled lesions that may be red at the base. • Nodules. Large, painful, solid lesions that are lodged deep within the skin. • Cysts. Deep, painful, pus-filled lesions that can cause scarring.
A comedo that reaches the surface of the skin and opens up is called an open comedo or blackhead because it looks black on the skin’s surface. This black discoloration is due to changes in sebum as it is exposed to air. It is not due to dirt. Both whiteheads and blackheads may stay in the skin for a long time.