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What Causes Acne?

by kelly / September, 11 2019 01:30

Photo of a woman hiding her face under a book in bed

Acne – something almost everyone can relate to and probably finds annoying. You might at times feel alone in your acne woes but fact is it’s the most common skin condition. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects about 40-50 million Americans at one time. That’s a whole lot of people! So let’s learn a little bit more about our enemy acne and specifically what causes it.

Acne At Any Age

I thought acne was just something I had to deal with in my teens. Of course I got it again in my early 30s. Good times.

Acne isn’t something we only deal with in young adulthood – it can occur at any age. Babies can get acne (my daughter actually had it when she was just a newborn) and men and women can get it when they reach middle age.

What Causes Acne

We get acne when a pore in our skin clogs and bacteria gets inside them.

The next question you might ask is then how do these clogs happens? Clogs happen when our body starts to make lots of oil (aka sebum) to keep our skin from drying out – this oil causes dead skin cells to stick together and become trapped in our pores. Normally dead skin cells rise to the surface of our skin through our pores and the body then sheds these cells.

Once clogged, sometimes bacteria that live on our skin get inside the pores. Fun fact – the bacteria that lives on our skin is called p. acnes – probably how the term acne came about.

Clogged pores are the perfect environment for bacteria grow. A big bacteria party inside your pores leads to inflammation which causes your skin to become red and swollen.

Sometimes if the inflammation gets deep into the skin it becomes an acne cyst or nodule appears. I’ve heard those are painful.

Bottom line - acne occurs when this process of clearing dead skin cells gets messed up.

Skin Care Smarts

So that’s about it. The good thing is knowing what causes acne can help us prevent and treat it. And I guess it’s comforting to know that almost everyone gets it Laughing.

For even more tips and info on acne check out our Skin Care and Education blog series.

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