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Acne Facts & Myths: Acne Causes and Treatments

The truths and myths on the causes of acne. And how to clear up your skin.
Ever wonder why some people with oily skin have a clear complexion, while many with less oily complexion are plagued by acne? Clearly, the oiliness of your skin isn't the absolute determinant for acne breakouts. Find out what contributes to the formation of zits and how to clear them up.

How is Acne Formed?

Acne forms when the hair follicle, the passage that leads from the sebaceous (oil) gland to the surface of the skin, becomes blocked. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oily substance, which normally helps carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. However, when the follicle of a gland becomes clogged up with excessive amount of sebum, a pimple grows.

Causes of Acne Flare

These factors do not cause acne for everyone. Rather, they can cause breakouts and worsen the condition in those genetically-predisposed to acne.
  • Hormonal: Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women, especially during the few days before their menstrual period starts.

  • Environmental: High heat and humidity can swell the stratum corneum (outermost layer of dead skin cells), leading to blocked pores and flare-ups.

  • Irritation: Picking or squeezing at blemishes, or excessive scrubbing of the skin.

  • Frictional: Caused by rubbing or pressure on the skin, such as wearing sports helmets and tight collars.

  • Cosmetic: Oil-based cosmetics and oily hair products may result in a form of acne called acne cosmetica. Avoid irritating oil ingredients such as lanolin and acetylated lanolin.

  • Drugs: Drugs such as fluorinated steroids may lead to acne aggravation.

  • Stress: Stress may increase sebum production and contribute to flare-ups.

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