What Is The Deal With Acne?

Acne is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, “the occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin; in particular, a condition characterized by red pimples on the face, prevalent chiefly among teenagers.” However, that is a rather shallow definition. Let’s dig a little deeper into that definition, starting with what the heck are inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin?

What Are These Pesky Sebaceous Glands?

Sebaceous glands are a component of the endocrine system that is commonly associated with hair follicles. They secrete sebum, a lipid substance, into the follicular duct and eventually onto the skin’s surface.

What Is Sebum, And Why Do We Need It?

Sebum, the superhero of skin oils, is packed with powerful compounds like triglycerides and fatty acids. It’s on a mission to hydrate and protect your skin from harm. But watch out! When sebum gets too excited, it brings forth the dreaded villain – acne!

What Cause These Sebaceous Glands To Fill?

The amazing pores of your skin work tirelessly to keep you clean, but sometimes, dirt and debris team up with sebum to create a sticky, seal-like substance that blocks your skin’s entrance! When bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Propionibacterium acnes are blocked, they can multiply and cause a pimple. This triggers an immune response and inflammation as the body tries to control the infection.

Acne has been found to be tied to genetics and hormones. If your parents had acne, there’s a higher chance you will as well (add that to the notes for your therapist). Raging hormones wreak havoc on your body, so it makes sense that they would be the culprit for anything going on on your face.

What’s The Difference Between A Blackhead, Whitehead And A Cyst?

Whiteheads, blackheads and cysts all contain the same material, which is a combo of dead skin cells, oil and sebum.

  • A whitehead is a closed pore with an infection. It shows on the skin while the body starts to push it to the surface to push out the infection.
  • A blackhead is an open pore that’s been exposed to oxygen. Since pores only have so much space, it may eventually open and without immediate evacuation it will be exposed to oxygen, thus turning it into a blackhead.
  • A cyst is a deep, closed pore in the skin that is difficult to treat. It causes discomfort and pain as it fills and stretches instead of pushing the infection out.

Is Acne Really More Prevalent Among Teenagers?

Teenagers are 100% more likely than adults or children to get acne. This happens because of hormonal changes during puberty. These changes cause the body’s oil glands to produce too much oil.

Teenagers may notice acne on their face, back, neck and scalp, but since the entire body is on a hormonal overload, the pustules will try to exit anywhere they can.

It’s not uncommon for teens who are able to see a dermatologist and/or an aesthetician during this stage of their life. Treatments could be as mild as an in-office facial or all the way to a physician prescribing accutane. Unfortunately, it’s a trial and error process trying to figure out the root cause of the acne and the best way to get rid of it.

Once an individual has gone through puberty, acne usually begins to taper-off and can be kept under control, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have it occasionally as an adult.

So Why Is Adult Acne A Thing?

Skin disorders like acne can reveal a whole lot more about your health than you might think! Think hair loss, crazy hair growth, messed up periods, or sudden weight changes alongside those pesky pimples – it could be a sign of something deeper going on, like polycystic ovarian syndrome or other hormone imbalances. Don’t ignore the warning signs!

Nine times out of ten, adult acne isn’t just from over productive sebaceous glands–it’s the direct result of some underlying cause.

Are You Ready To Learn More About Your Skin’s Story?

Your skin is a book–and our trained clinicians are skilled in telling you what kind of story your skin is telling you. Schedule a consultation today!


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