What Are The Causes Of Acne- Understand Them Before You Treat Them
Before you can try to prevent or treat acne you must understand what are the causes of acne. Unless you know what you are fighting, you may actually make it worse without even knowing it.
Without going into medical mumbo-jumbo of what are the causes of acne, let it suffice to say it is simply the result of the pores of your skin, the tiny holes in your skin, becoming plugged with normal skin oil, know as sebum, and dead skin cells or dirt.
There are two very natural and necessary processes involved in this process.
- Your skin is kept healthy and moist by the secretion of sebum through the pores to lubricate the hair follicles and surrounding skin.
- The skin is constantly regenerating itself and in so doing is shedding dead skin cells.
During most of your life this process is kept in balance and your skin is kept clean and acne free.
The Cause Of Acne Is Skin Pores Becoming Plugged
Unfortunately, there are times in your life when your oil glands produce more oil than normal. The typical times this occurs is at puberty because of hormonal changes and at times of stress. As a result there is both teenage acne and adult acne. When too much oil is secreted, the dead skin cells often combine and plug the pores resulting in what is called acne.
One of the most misunderstood and false myths regarding what are the causes of acne is that acne is a result of poor hygiene, uncleanliness, or infrequent washing. In reality, improper cleaning is one of the worst things you can do for your skin and may actually cause acne. The skin is actually a very sensitive body organ. While washing the body, especially the face, is most important, you must do it properly and delicately.
In order to reduce the frequency and severity of acne outbreaks you must establish a daily routine of washing your face or preferably cleansing your face.
Photo Credit: http://www.vox.com/2015/2/24/8099409/acne-pimples
Acne, Zits, Pimples Comes In Many Types
Acne, commonly called zits or pimples, comes in many specific types; whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. They all have the same basic cause; the only real difference is their severity and grossness.
Another myth about what are the causes of acne is that it occurs quickly. In reality, the start if any blemish occurs about 2 to 3 weeks before it appears on the skin surface. When there is too much oil, the dead skin cells have a tendency to become sticky and clog together and form a small plug. Over time this plug traps the oil inside the follicle resulting in a pimple.
There is one major exception to the general rule of what are the causes of acne is in regards to back acne, sometimes referred to as “bacne”. While the most common cause and skin appearance is the same as regular acne, sweat and heat can get trapped against the skin and this can also clog the pores. This can occur from frequently wearing athletic equipment, tight fitting clothes, backpacks or similar items. The friction from these can contribute to the problem also.
Follow 6 Basic Rules When Dealing With Acne
There are 6 basic rules to follow at all times when dealing with acne or even acne prone skin:
- Never touch your face, especially if there are pimples,
- Properly clean your face twice daily and prior to applying any lotion, cream, or treatment,
- It is far safer to “draw out the infection” than to remove it,
- If you must pop the pimple, be extremely careful and follow the instructions closely,
- Always remove your makeup before going to bed, and
- Sleep on you back so you do not trap oil and dirt against your face.
The bottom line is not to worry too much about what are the causes of acne but rather to concentrate on how to prevent and treat it.
Types Of Acne – The Root Cause For All Is The Same
There are six commonly recognized types of acne. The basic root cause of acne is the same for each type of acne but their appearance and severity, both physically and emotionally, are quite different.
The types of acne are:
- Whitehead – A whitehead is an acne plug that has reached the surface of the skin but has not yet broken through. Also called a closed comedo.
- Blackhead – A blackhead is the same type of plug that has broken the surface of the skin and the oil and material inside has oxidized and turned black. Also called an open comedo.
- Papule – Basically a whitehead that has become red, swollen and inflamed.
- Pustule –Pustular pimples differ slightly from other forms of acne in that the plug contains white cells. The white cells are the result of the body’s immune system trying to fight the bacteria within the plug. Pus, and thus the name, is the result of this battle going on within the skin.
- Nodule – Acne that are large, tender, swollen lesion deep within the skin which is intensely inflamed. Nodules usually are ruptured under the skin. If not treated properly, nodules have a high risk of scarring.
- Cyst – Basically a nodule that also contains pus, the body’s immune system’s response to the bacterial infection within the nodule.
Your body produces bacteria within the skin’s hair follicles. This bacteria flows out with the oil and normally is washed away harmlessly. When the oil and bacteria become trapped, the bacteria begins to grow and causes chemical changes in the oil. This causes irritation to the skin which causes the immune system to try to get rid of the bacteria. The next step is that this causes infection and inflammation.
Acne Is Classified As Non-Inflammatory and Inflammatory
The first two types of acne are classified as non-inflammatory acne. The last four types are classified as inflammatory acne because they are, by definition, red, swollen, and inflamed. The importance of this is to realize that simply because whiteheads and blackheads appear to be minor blemishes, they are basically the same and should not be treated with less respect as far as prevention and treatment are concerned.
A whitehead may not cause the same emotional concern as a pustule however, its root cause is the same and it must be given the same care in treating it so that it does not cause future problems. More on this in ………..
Remember that even the smallest whitehead started 2 to 3 weeks before it reached the surface of your skin. The first sign of even one whitehead should be a wake-up call to be prepared for what might be coming.
Acne Prevention Is Always The Best Attack
With any type of acne prevention is always the best attack.
Acne in any of its many forms is unpleasant to look at and is usually an embarrassment. Although it may be of little comfort, acne is usually not the result of poor hygiene. More often it is the result of simply using the wrong products and/or scrubbing too hard. Because of this, home care for acne starts with prevention.
Prevention is a 5 step process:
- Proper washing.
- Deeper cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.
- Weekly exfoliation, facial steaming, and/or facial masking.
- Proper diet.
- Proper use of the correct makeup.
It is extremely important that as a part of your home cure for acne that you establish a daily and weekly routine for cleaning your skin. Because the processes that cause acne do not stop, you cannot use a sometimes approach to prevention.