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What causes acne?

When looking at the underlying acne causes, we have to consider two general categories from the angle of acne care and acne clear, i.e. the intrinsic nature of the person and the extrinsic circumstances.

What follows are the definitions of and a summary of the differences between them:

Intrinsic – this is related to genetics or factors that are out of our direct control, such as:

  • Family history of severe acne;
  • Androgens circulating issue;
  • Hyper responsiveness of follicles to androgens; and
  • Local abnormalities of the pilosebaceous unit.
Extrinsic – this is related to factors that we may have control over, for example:

  • Stress;
  • Changes in our body due to changes in sleep cycles, foods, exams, relationships, etc, be it good or bad as the shift in various hormones will affect our skin too;
  • Oral contraceptives - for example, hormonal changes related to pregnancy or when taking or stopping birth control pills can improve acne in some women but may cause acne or make it worse in people already prone to acne;
  • Medications;
  • Other hormonal treatments;
  • Makeup;
  • Irritants;
  • Pollution;
  • Occlusive products;
    and so on.
The current thought of acne vulgaris is that acne resulted from several, if not many, related factors. But the good news is that, the underlying acne causes can sometimes be addressed even before the acne becomes obvious on our skin surface if proper acne control has been followed.

In fact, medical studies have led to a revolutionary change in the way topical acne (i.e. cream, gel or lotion) treatments for acne was recommended. In the past, we use to receive acne spot treatment, meaning treating only the pimple themselves; however, the new acne care and acne clear recommendation is changing to one in which the entire area should be targeted, even if our skin appears normal on the surface, because the acne can be brewing underneath. It is noted that certain areas should be treated prophylactically (preventatively where a treatment or medication in the absence of active disease) in order to avoid the acne from occurring in the first place.

Whatever the acne causes, acne is, in the end, a condition of the skin with well-defined players such as skin cells, sebaceous glands and follicles or pores, along with P. acnes bacteria that are lived at the base of our pore though acne can sometimes be a very localized process involving only our nose, our back, our forehead or the area around the mouth or a very generalized process involving many areas of our body. It is noted that acne can be persistent, scarring and at times very difficult to control.

What mentioned below are the factors that involved in causing acne:

  • Androgens – a type of hormones that play a role in acne;
  • P. acnes – bacteria that are specific to the follicles in our skin;
  • Inflammatory cells – this will trigger response to skin infection;
  • Sebaceous glands – the oil producing glands;
  • Keratinocytes – our skin cells;
  • Pilosebaceous unit – is actually sebaceous glands with attached hair follicle.
After knowing what the acne causes are, what is important is that if no satisfactory acne solutions/result was seen after 2 to 4 weeks, it is time to see our dermatologist to get the necessary professional advice for a more suitable acne care and acne clear alternative.

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