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Have you found yourself asking the question - what causes acne? Is it in my genes? Does milk cause acne? Or is it my hormones? If it is my hormone, then what hormone causes acne? What can I do about it?
Well, what causes acne are factors that you have very little or no control over. But reducing stress levels, avoiding the use of heavy and oily make ups, as well as an eye on what you eat and some basic skin care tip may help reduce the severity of acne or zits.
Nearly 90 percent of teenagers have acne. While a few of them will "grow out of" this skin condition in a few years, up to half will continue to suffer with acne into adulthood and up to 1 in a 100 men will still have acne at age 40 and 5 in 100 women carries this condition into their forties.
That most people develop significant acne in their teenage years, it clearly indicates that something different must be happening at that time.
As teenagers start maturing into adolescent, they start producing sex hormones. Androgens are the main hormones produced at this stage. These hormones causes a number of things to happen together, leading to changes in the hair follicles of the skin that ultimately leads to acne.
The four main process medically shown to lead to the development and formation of acne are:
So, if you are looking for what causes acne, in simple terms, it is the plugging of our skin pore by excessive keratin production, by increased amount of sebum produced, both in response to androgens produced at puberty.
If this blockade then gets infected, it causes an even worse out with acne. It is important to recognize these four factors in the successful management of acne.
For the purpose of clarity, and in the spirit of "repetition for emphasis", we shall now list again, and then discuss the four main causes of acne and relate how a knowledge of each of these steps can help us in the appropriate treatment of this condition. They are:
Application of the knowledge of what causes acne at this level involves the use of regular face wash.
Even here, there is need to exercise caution. You must not over wash your face. Use of various cleansers and washes like Castile hand or liquid soap or even pure glycerin hand soap a few times in a day (ideally no more than twice daily) and with sparing amount of these agents has been advocated in some studies to be useful way of overcoming and reducing excessive sebum clog.
As mentioned above, another important factor apart from excessive sebum production, that causes the blockade of the skin pores and which in turn is what causes acne is the accumulation of keratin, causing comedones - whiteheads and blackheads.
Use of "peeling agents" like retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid is the mainstay of treatment of non-inflammatory acne.
These agents helps to clear away the excessive keratin and help open the pores again.
A third and one of the very important "what causes acne" is the colonization of the clogged pores by bacteria. Two forms of bacteria has been implicated; the Propionibacterium acnes, and to a lesser degree, the Propionibacterium granulosum. The body responds to the presence of these bacteria by releasing chemicals that in turn leads to the inflammatory reaction observed in some acne.
This is again where a sound knowledge of what causes acne is needed to succeed in instituting the right treatment. Antibiotic preparations like Clindamycin are only useful where inflammation is noticed in the acne - redness and sometimes pus formation. A topical antibiotic cream or oral antibiotic can be used at this stage.
Antibiotics are useless if there is no evidence of inflammation as in non-inflammatory acne - grade one acne.
This is the final stage in the natural history of acne - the formation of scars. What causes scar in acne is the body's attempt to heal after the injury caused by the offending bacterial colonization.
Scars are difficult to treat and require the use or "peeling agents like roaccutane and laser in some cases. Though it must be said that roaccutane does not treat already existing scar, but only prevents the formation of new scars.
Can you see how a sound knowledge of what causes acne ties in nicely with picking the right treatment agent for acne? That is what we hope to emphasize all through this site... and thus help improve the treatment of this depressing skin condition.
Now that we know what causes acne, let's look at things that could make acne worse and what can be done about them.
The following are things that can trigger or worsen acne, and if such "causes of acne" are identified and excluded or minimized, then the impact of any of the four processes described above can be mitigated. These "causes of acne" include:
This list is by no means exhaustive, but reflects the list of things that could contribute to or worsen acne.
Some have found certain things that make their acne worse... and can even point to a suspected cause of their acne. Have you noticed a pattern yourself? Certain foods? Creams? Or before major events? Share it! Just add your contribution below: