There is a lot of misinformation about acne floating around these days. Everything from assumptions of uncleanliness to blaming fatty foods have plagued acne-prone people for decades. Here are some facts about acne to point you in the right direction.
For most people acne is genetic. For some, it is hormonal, and for others it is caused exclusively by external factors. But acne is mostly hormonal.
It’s a disorder of the follicle
Whether or not your acne is genetic, what is happening inside of your follicles (pores) is the same for any acne-sufferer.
Every day one layer of dead skin cells sheds inside a healthy follicle. After this, the sebum secreted in the follicle naturally escorts that layer of skin cells to the surface of the skin where it naturally sloughs off.
In acne-prone skin five layers of skin cells shed. The sebum can’t keep up with moving these skin cells to the surface, and the sticky skin cells and sebum glob together into a plug called a microcomedone. This is the beginning of a clogged pore.
The microcomedone grows as more cells and sebum clump together, eventually resulting in a comedone. A closed comedone will appear on the surface of the skin as skin-colored bumps, or texture. An open comedone will appear as a blackhead, since the comedone oxidizes and turns dark when exposed to air.
Should bacteria enter the picture, the comedone will become an inflamed breakout. The anaerobic Cutibacterium acnes bacteria thrive without oxygen and love to feast upon the buildup of skin cells and sebum. This inflamed breakout appears on the skin as a red, inflamed bump. It can sometimes have a white head, and sometimes does not.
If you are a genetic acne sufferer, your acne will likely be chronic. You will learn to manage your acne throughout different phases of your life. Your acne may have phases of its own, including periods of higher activity and lesser activity.
There is no known cure for acne, including Accutane (isotretinoin). However, acne can be treated and it can be prevented. With the proper skincare and strategy, most cases of acne can be cleared in 3-4 months.
I hope this helped clear up some mysteries about acne. If you have further questions, or would like to set up a consultation, please contact me here.