As with many areas of medicine, the causes of acne are not fully understood although there are several aspects of the condition which have
been well research and about which we do have a pretty good idea.
For example, we know that acne is associated with both hormones and sebum. Acne
will strike about eighty-five percent of all teenagers and this is a time in our lives when our hormone levels rise dramatically and when androgen levels increase in both
girls and boys. We also know that the sebaceous glands, which produce sebum (the natural oil which is found in hair follicles) are also stimulated at this time,
especially on the face, neck, chest and back.
Now the fact that we produce excessive sebum is not in itself a real problem, as long as this excess oil is
allowed to escape to the surface of the skin where it can be simply washed off with soap and water. In this case it may cause a very slight problem and produce
some blackheads, but it is otherwise quite harmless. However, if the pores of the skin become clogged so that this excess oil cannot escape then problems can
begin to develop.
The build-up of excess oil will result in pressure which can cause follicles to rupture and an ideal environment is created for bacteria to
grow. Now, excess oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and white blood cells all combine to produce the inflammation and pus which we know as acne.
know that certain drugs can also play a part in the development of acne and this is especially true of barbiturates. Anabolic steroids have also been well researches
and are known to contribute significantly to the problem of acne. These drugs, and indeed drugs in general, should not be taken other than for a specific medical
purpose in order to avoid aggravating problems with acne.
Heredity is also know to play a part in acne although, as yet, we are not really sure just how
significant a part it plays and this is one area which is still under active research. Nevertheless, statistics do clearly show that acne runs in families and the question is
whether this is the result of genetics or results from such things as diet or other factors which may be common within a family.
Having mentioned diet this too,
along with skin care, is another important factor when it comes to acne. These are however relatively minor factors and the old myth about acne being caused by
eating chocolate has thankfully been put to bed now. A poor diet can however lead to poor skin conditioning and when we then add in inadequate skin care this
can contribute to acne. More important however in the case of food, are those foods which stimulate the production of sebum or affect the levels of certain
Of course there is little that we can do about such things as heredity and we will all have to pass through the teenage years so there is a pretty fair
chance that most of us will suffer from acne. We can however choose our diet and take care of our skin and in both of these respects, if we cannot stop an acne
attack, we can certainly help to lessen its severity and aid its passing.
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