Acne is a chronic and inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms. Acne occurs when the pores on the skin, which opens to hair follicles, are clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.
Each hair follicle has a single hair and a sebaceous gland, which produces sebum, a type of oil that keeps the skin lubricated and soft. But, when factors like hormones etc. cause these glands to produce an excess amount of sebum, which is then pumped out through the follicle. It collects the dead skin cells, and bacteria while going out.
This accumulation of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria form a sort of a plug. The body then reacts to this plug by sending its white and red blood cells to fight this infection, leading to inflammation and redness.
Acne can appear on the face, back, neck, chest, arms, and buttocks. When this acne gets out of control and spreads then this situation is called an Acne Breakout.
Some of the common symptoms of acne are:
Whiteheads : Whiteheads remain under the skin and are small.
Blackheads : Blackheads are black and appear on the skin’s surface of the skin making it visible.
Papules : Papules are small, usually pink bumps that are visible on the surface of the skin.
Pustules or Pimples : Pustules or Pimples are usually red at their base and have pus at the top, and are clearly visible on the skin’s surface.
Nobules : Nobules are clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are large, solid, and painful pimples that are embedded deep in the skin
Cystic Lesions : Cystic Lesions are painful and filled with pus and can cause scars.
The main factors that cause acne are:
Excess Oil Production
Hair Follicles that are clogged by oil and dead skin cells
Excess activity of the androgen hormone
The factors responsible for aggravating acne breakouts are:
Hormones : Hormones like androgen, increase during the puberty stage of both girls and boys. It causes the sebaceous glands to swell and make more sebum. Pregnancy-induced hormonal changes and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
Medication: Medication that contain corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.
Diet: Diet that includes skim milk and carbohydrate-rich food like bread etc., can also worsen the acne.
Stress: Stress is another known cause for acne breakouts.