What Is Acne Symptoms And Causes

Acne vulgaris is​ an​ inflammatory disease of​ the​ skin,​ caused by changes in​ the​ pilosebaceous units (skin structures consisting of​ a​ hair follicle and its associated sebaceous gland). Acne lesions are commonly referred to​ as​ pimples,​ spots or​ zits.

The condition is​ common in​ puberty,​ especially among Western societies most likely due to​ a​ higher genetic predisposition. it​ is​ considered an​ abnormal response to​ normal levels of​ the​ male hormone testosterone. the​ response for most people diminishes over time and acne thus tends to​ disappear,​ or​ at​ least decrease,​ after one reaches their early twenties. There is,​ however,​ no way to​ predict how long it​ will take for it​ to​ disappear entirely,​ and some individuals will continue to​ suffer from acne decades later,​ into their thirties and forties and even beyond. Acne affects a​ large percentage of​ humans at​ some stage in​ life.


The most common form of​ acne is​ known as​ "acne vulgaris",​ meaning "common acne." Excessive secretion of​ oils from the​ sebaceous glands combines with naturally occurring dead skin cells to​ block the​ hair follicles. There also appeares to​ be in​ some instances a​ faulty keritinization process in​ the​ skin leading to​ abnormal shedding of​ skin lining the​ pores. Oil secretions build up beneath the​ blocked pore,​ providing a​ perfect environment for the​ skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes to​ multiply uncontrolled. in​ response,​ the​ skin inflames,​ producing the​ visible lesion. the​ face,​ chest,​ back,​ shoulders and upper arms are especially affected.

The typical acne lesions are: comedones,​ papules,​ pustules,​ nodules and inflammatory cysts. These are the​ more inflamed form of​ pus-filled or​ reddish bumps,​ even boil-like tender swellings. Non-inflamed 'sebaceous cysts',​ more properly called epidermoid cysts,​ occur either in​ association with acne or​ alone but are not a​ constant feature. After resolution of​ acne lesions,​ prominent unsightly scars may remain.

Aside from scarring,​ its main effects are psychological,​ such as​ reduced self-esteem and depression. Acne usually appears during adolescence,​ when people already tend to​ be most socially insecure.

Causes of​ acne

Exactly why some people get acne and some do not is​ not fully known. it​ is​ known to​ be partly hereditary. Several factors are known to​ be linked to​ acne:

Hormonal activity,​ such as​ menstrual cycles and puberty
Stress,​ through increased output of​ hormones from the​ adrenal (stress) glands.
Hyperactive sebaceous glands,​ secondary to​ the​ three hormone sources above.
Accumulation of​ dead skin cells.
Bacteria in​ the​ pores,​ to​ which the​ body becomes 'allergic'.
Skin irritation or​ scratching of​ any sort will activate inflammation.
Use of​ anabolic steroids.
Any medication containing halogens (iodides,​ chlorides,​ bromides),​ lithium,​ barbiturates,​ or​ androgens.
Exposure to​ high levels of​ chlorine compounds,​ particularly chlorinated dioxins,​ can cause severe,​ long-lasting acne,​ known as​ Chloracne.

Traditionally,​ attention has focused mostly on​ hormone-driven over-production of​ sebum as​ the​ main contributing factor of​ acne. More recently,​ more attention has been given to​ narrowing of​ the​ follicle channel as​ a​ second main contributing factor. Abnormal shedding of​ the​ cells lining the​ follicle,​ abnormal cell binding ("hyperkeratinization") within the​ follicle,​ and water retention in​ the​ skin (swelling the​ skin and so pressing the​ follicles shut) have all been put forward as​ important mechanisms. Several hormones have been linked to​ acne: the​ male hormones testosterone,​ dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS),​ as​ well as​ insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I). in​ addition,​ acne-prone skin has been shown to​ be insulin resistant.

Development of​ acne vulgaris in​ latter years is​ uncommon,​ although this is​ the​ age group for Rosacea which may have similar appearances. True acne vulgaris in​ older adults may be a​ feature of​ an​ underlying condition such as​ pregnancy and disorders such as​ polycystic ovary syndrome or​ the​ rare Cushing's syndrome.

Misconceptions about causes

There are many misconceptions and rumors about what does and does not cause the​ condition:

Diet. One flawed study purported that chocolate,​ french fries,​ potato chips and sugar,​ among others,​ affect acne.A recent review of​ scientific literature cannot affirm either way.The consensus among health professionals is​ that acne sufferers should experiment with their diets,​ and refrain from consuming such fare if​ they find such food affects the​ severity of​ their acne.A recent study,​ based on​ a​ survey of​ 47,​335 women,​ did find a​ positive epidemiological association between milk consumption and acne,​ particularly skimmed.The researchers hypothesize that the​ association may be caused by hormones (such as​ bovine IGF-I) present in​ cow milk; but this has not been definitively shown. Seafood,​ on​ the​ other hand,​ may contain relatively high levels of​ iodine,​ but probably not enough to​ cause an​ acne outbreak. Still,​ people who are prone to​ acne may want to​ avoid excessive consumption of​ foods high in​ iodine. it​ has also been suggested that there is​ a​ link between a​ diet high in​ refined sugars and acne. According to​ this hypothesis,​ the​ startling absence of​ acne in​ non-westernized societies could be explained by the​ low glycemic index of​ these tribes' diets.Further research is​ necessary to​ establish whether a​ reduced consumption of​ high-glycemic foods (such as​ soft drinks,​ sweets,​ white bread) can significantly alleviate acne,​ though consumption of​ high-glycemic foods should in​ any case be kept to​ a​ minimum,​ for general health reasons.

Deficient personal hygiene. Acne is​ not caused by dirt. This misconception probably comes from the​ fact that acne involves skin infections. in​ fact,​ the​ blockages that cause acne occur deep within the​ narrow follicle channel,​ where it​ is​ impossible to​ wash them away. These plugs are formed by the​ cells and sebum created there by the​ body. the​ bacteria involved are the​ same bacteria that are always present on​ the​ skin. Regular cleansing of​ the​ skin can reduce,​ but not prevent,​ acne for a​ particular individual and very little variation among individuals is​ due to​ hygiene. Anything beyond very gentle cleansing can actually worsen existing lesions and even encourage new ones by damaging or​ overdrying skin.

Sex. Common myths state that either celibacy or​ masturbation cause acne and,​ conversely,​ that sexual intercourse can cure it. There is​ absolutely no scientific evidence suggesting that any of​ these are factual. it​ is​ true,​ though,​ that anger and stress affect hormone levels and thus bodily oil production. Whether or​ not any increases in​ oil production due to​ stress are enough to​ cause acne is​ currently being researched.
What Is Acne Symptoms And Causes What Is Acne Symptoms And Causes Reviewed by Henda Yesti on April 14, 2019 Rating: 5
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