All of us, at some point, have had a stubborn pimple ruin our skin for days. Pimples can be unsightly, painful and difficult to get rid of, but a pimple is not what you call acne. Here’s a little more about what Acne is and the causes that lead to it. Firstly let’s get the difference between the terms a pimple, and acne.
What is a Pimple?
An inflammation of the skin characterizes a pimple; this happens due to blockage of pores by dirt. The sebaceous glands that lay under your skin secrete oil through these pores, and when there’s a blockage, that’s when it externally manifests as a pimple.
What is Acne?
Acne is a like an umbrella term that is used when there is breakage on the skin not just in the form of pimples, but also, blackheads, freckles, whiteheads all together in a particular area. It is also a chronic condition (which means its persistent and lasts for a long time), which should ideally be attended to by a dermatologist. There are also different kinds of acne namely: Acne Vulgaris, Acne Fulminans, Acne Mechanica.
Whatever might be the type of Acne, there is always a general set of causes for all.
- Genes – Almost 80% of the reported cases of Acne are hereditary. Genetics decide how your skin deals with bacteria. The texture or skin type is also dependent on your genes, and if it’s genetic to have oily skin, then that might likely increase your chances of developing acne (1).
- Hormones – Most of the time Acne happens to adolescents who have just hit puberty; this is because of the surge in hormone levels. Sebum at the bottom of your hair follicles which is necessary for secreting oil is easily affected by hormones. A teenager at puberty experiences high levels of hormones such as Testosterone, which triggers more oil secretion (2).
- Infections – Most the time bacteria clogs up your pores and causes inflammation when the infection goes deep down in your skin. This leads to what’s called Cystic Acne. The pus and fluid from it can cause even more Acne.
- Diet – One thing to be kept in mind is that your dietary intake is going to affect your skin and hair at all times. Oily food and even dairy products will thus increase the oil content of your body, which would increase the chances of Acne. Although this might not be true for all people, it is still generally advised to stay away from junk food if you have acne or are prone to it (3).
- Stress – Stress itself does not cause acne, in the sense that it wouldn’t result in newly formed acne, although it can worsen acne that already exists. Even though it’s unclear about what may be the connection between the two, it’s a common idea that emotional stress triggers sebum secretion.
- Environmental Factors – This is one of the reasons that can either aggravate or cause acne. In humid climates or summer, there is more sweat, and this, combined with dirt, clogs up your pores, if not attended to properly. The dust and pollution can also be another reason for acne. Not just summers but even dry winters can cause acne. If the skin is dehydrated, it aims at producing more oil to keep it moist, this could, in turn, clog your pores and result in acne.
- Medication – Certain medicines can alter your hormones, thus causing irregularities which may show out on your skin in the form of acne. This kind of acne which happens due to medication is said to look different from regular acne (4).
- Sleep – Sleep time is when our body gets to do some damage control along with detoxifying. Continuous Sleep deprivation would mean that your body functioning would be hindered, causing your immune system to weaken. The weakened immune system results in your skin being more prone to bacteria, it also increases inflammatory response, and even small pimples can turn out to be big ones.
Also read: Skin Types and how to identify them
The factor to keep in mind is that these causes vary from person to person, depending on the skin type and bodily functions. With a condition like Acne, it’s best not to use a trial and error method on your skin as this could worsen your acne and permanently leave marks and scars. If according to this article you understand that you do have acne, it best to consult a professional on the matter to get cured.
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