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Common Causes of Acne

Acne is a common problem that people of all ages face at some point in their lives. Many will experience it only as adolescents, but some will suffer from the condition at other stages of their lives as well. The acne experienced in adolescence seems to be particularly distressing, as that is the time in a child’s life when they are especially most concerned with their personal appearance and what others will say about it.

The pimples that erupt on the face and other areas of the body are actually small pockets of inflammation. And the curious thing is that there isn’t a single particular cause for acne that can be named on its own. The causes are many and are a combination of events and conditions that lead to acne as we know it.

When a child reaches puberty, the glands become active, and stimulation of these sebaceous glands by adrenaline and the male hormones cause oil to come to the surface of the skin. The oil is called sebum, and is a natural lubricant for the skin. So when the openings of the oil glands are blocked in any way, the oil collected in those openings is unable to escape to the surface. Then, the bacteria that are present on everyone’s skin combines with the trapped oil that is also there, and that is what causes the inflammation that leads to the formation of pimples.

It is also worth mentioning that there phases that occur within each individual pustule. The initial inflammation that happens on the skin’s surface can cause a papule, or also known as a pimple, which is a pocket of inflamed tissue that reaches just below the surface. If this papule becomes larger and deeper, it then becomes a cyst.

In the case of acne, for it to happen, the oil has to pop through the skin and form a small whitehead. And, if the oil contains pigment, it will change from white to dark or black, and will then called a blackhead. This is the true origin of blackheads, which have nothing to do with poor washing habits as so many people has been lead to believe.

Pressure or contact with certain fabrics causes the damaged cells that produce the oil to become blocked. That is why you might notice a particular problem where suspenders or straps are pressed against the skin for long periods of time. Helmets, collars, and other restrictive garments can have the same effect as well.

Also, some prescription drugs, steroids like prednisone, and some other chemicals can cause acne. Steroids taken to build up the body (like those taken by weight lifters), can also cause it, as well as bromides, iodides, and lithium (which is usually taken by those suffering from bipolar disorder) can be another reason for acne too.

For more than a century, parents have instructed their teens about certain behaviors that they believe are causing their kids to suffer from acne. However, none of these typical reasons are valid. Like for example, hereditary acne doesn’t exist other than on some very few rare cases. There are also some wrong notions that pizza, chocolate, and other junk foods do cause acne, but these are not true either, and nor are reasons like sweating or dirt.

In fact, the real causes are just oil accumulation (due to excessive oil ingestion) and the use of certain chemicals like the ones mentioned above.