By: Rosemary Murphy, LE
Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder that is usually related to hormonal changes, which can stimulate sebum production. Overactive sebaceous glands are usually the cause of adolescent acne. A sebaceous gland produces sebum and there is one at the base of each pore.
Sebum is the main component of pustules (pimples). 80% of teens get pimples, but only 20% develop acne, and blackheads can be precursors to acne.
Many people think that acne only occurs in adolescence and although that is the time when activity is usually stimulated, many adults will also suffer from acne. So, if you dodged the bullet during your teen years, there is no guarantee that you will be immune to adult onset acne.
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Often a pore (or follicle) is filled with an excess of oil (sebum) and an accumulation of dead skin cells can occur. When that happens, a blackhead is formed at the surface of the pore. Blackheads do not indicate that the skin is not clean; it is simply a result of oxidation from exposure to the air.
Think of an apple that is cut in half and left on a table. That apple will begin to turn brown from a chemical reaction caused by exposure to the oxygen in our air. That is called oxidation and it is the cause of many other conditions and diseases in the body. It is the same kind of chemical reaction which causes the pores to have a black appearance. Dirt and pollution in the atmosphere further darkens that trapped oil.
A pimple appears when bacteria are introduced to the dead cells and sebum causing swelling and possible rupture into the dermis (lower layers of the skin). This debris will irritate and cause inflammation and thus a pimple is born.
Cleansing the skin is not enough to prevent this chain of events, and many products formulated to treat acne are often so drying to the skin that they become counter-productive. Also picking and squeezing the area can cause severe scarring and force the material deeper into the dermis, spreading it to the surrounding tissues.
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Unless proper treatment is given to acne at any age, there is sure to be some scarring on the surface of the skin. Those scars can only be treated with deep chemical peels and other medical procedures in order to improve their appearance.
Keeping all skin types clean, moisturized and protected from the sun is the most important thing to do. However, there are many skin conditions like acne that need to be treated by a dermatologist or other skin care professional.
Often the esthetician can help to reduce the spread of acne by extracting the pores in a sterile environment during a professional facial. Other products can then be used to soothe irritation and kill bacteria.
Source: Santa Clarita News