Acne vulgaris, or simply acne, is a common skin condition that typically appears on the face, neck, chest back and shoulders, which are the areas of the body to have the largest number of functional oil glands. Acne may develop in a number of different forms and it usually develops in adolescence, due to the increase of male sex hormones. However, some people may continue having this problem all the way into adulthood.
Development of acne
There are three major factors responsible for acne formation: overproduction of oil, irregular shedding of dead skin or bacterial buildup. Acne develops as a result of blockages in follicles. Hair follicles may become plugged with oil or dead skin cells. Follicles are connected with sebaceous glands that produce oily substance called sebum. The purpose of this sebum is to lubricate the hair and skin. Normally, sebum travels to the surface of the skin along the hair shafts and trough the opening of the hair follicles. If the follicles are blocked, the sebum accumulates under the surface of the skin causing the inflammation.
Depending on their development, acne may take the following forms:
- Whiteheads and blackheads, which develop from hair follicles clogged and blocked with oil secretions, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria.
- Papules, small red bumps that develop from inflamed hair follicles. Papules are usually red and tender.
- Pustules, red bumps with pus at the tips.
- Nodules, quite large and painful bumps under the surface of the skin that develop from the buildup of secretions deep inside the hair follicles.
- Cysts, painful bumps filled with pus that develops on the surface of the skin. This kind of acne may even cause scaring of the skin.
There is no definite answer to the question “what causes adult acne?”, but most of the dermatologists agree that four major factors play a significant role: hormones, bacteria, certain medications and genetic predisposition.
Interesting thing is that greasy foods and chocolate have just a little effect on acne formation. But stress, bad cosmetics and birth control pills can have severe effect on one’s skin condition. Stress, for example, increases the production of oily sebum. Bad cosmetics may cause bacterial buildup in the pores.
Contrary to popular belief, scrubbing the skin to hard and using cleansing products may be very harmful. Most of the facial cleaners contain harsh soaps and other chemical irritants that can even make acne worse. The best possible treatment of problematic skin would consist of simple cleansing of the skin to remove excess oil and dead skin cells.