What Causes Acne?

Direct Causes of Acne

Whiteheads, blackheads and pimples are all a result of the over-production of oil inside the hair follicles that are situated under the surface of the skin. The skin follicles situated on our skin are covered by sebum, an oily substance, produced by our sebaceous glands. If an individual’s skin is clear, the sebum that is released travels up the follicle wall and settles on the skin. However, things don't always run the way they should. When the skin’s pores are filled with too much oil, they can prevent oil from escaping and therefore becoming clogged. These clogged pores are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Dead skin cells then mix with the bacteria and this clogs the pores even further.

If the area near the pore is not inflamed, the clogged area will likely become a blackhead or a whitehead. This will depend on how many skin cells are blocking the follicle’s opening. Acne vulgaris, a more severe type of acne, forms when the bacteria causes inflammation. Making it essential to use an acne treatment that first washes away dead cells clogging the pores of your skin, to allow the oil to escape, before attacking the bacteria inside them.

Indirect Causes of Acne

Over-production of oil leads to blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cysts. The underlying problem is determining why an over-production of oil by the skin’s pores is happening in the first place. Genetics and hormones are two factors that play a role in the over-production of oil.

Inconsistency in hormones changes the volume of oil that is released into the pores.  The fact that hormones are unpredictable makes finding the correct acne treatment very tricky. It's not accidental that many acne treatment products are aimed at teenagers. The body undergoes many hormonal and physical changes during adolescence. These changes often stimulate the sebaceous glands into producing more oil. When the glands start to release oil, the formation of acne becomes inevitable.

Genetic predisposition is another factor that influences the release of oil. Some people are simply more prone to releasing larger amounts of oil than others. This can explain why many adults still have breakouts, even after they've matured physically. Fortunately, this does not prevent adults from finding an effective solution for their acne.