What Causes Acne?

Many of us have been plagued by acne, especially in our younger years.  Although some with oily skin, or combination skin, continue to be troubled by it even later in life.  About 10% of the adult population still live with this condition.  Excess oiliness (sebum production) from the glands in our skin contributes to the formation of acne.  This oiliness can be caused by hormonal issues (as in puberty), or just by genetic tendencies.  Acne is an infection and is generally regarded as a disease; it is the most common reason for dermatologist appointments.  Even though it is not considered to be a life-threatening disease, the appearance issues associated with it are very troubling.  Depression and anxiety often happen with acne sufferers, which can lower one’s quality of life. Considering how emotionally damaging the effects of acne can be, it is important that the skin care industry provide useful, non-harmful products to mitigate the negative effects of this skin condition.

How does acne begin?
It starts with clogged pores.  Healthy pores in our skin are naturally open to the air.  The primary bacteria that cause acne infection, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), cannot multiply and grow when air is present; so, it remains dormant.  However, pores often get clogged due to a combination of excess sebum, dead skin cells and other debris found around the pore opening.  This mixture forms a “plug” over the top of the pore and air cannot get in, which allows the P. acnes bacteria in the pore to multiply and infect the pore.  This infection causes an inflammatory skin response, leading to the development of inflamed red lesions which become pimples.  Clogged pores prior to this infection result in white heads, or black heads, which can also be unsightly. 

How to reduce acne
Reducing acne blemishes must begin with healthy, clean pores.  Eliminating clogged pores will stop the proliferation of the P. acnes bacteria and the infection that results within the pore.  Using the proper cleansing techniques will help reduce excess oil on the skin and in the pores; it will also improve the elimination of the corneal layer (exfoliation) to prevent dead skin from accumulating.  A good clarifying cleanser will also help in reducing the number of bacteria and its proliferation.  In the next blog we will address a new Stemology product and regimen that will be very useful in providing healthy, cleansed and refined pores that will not enable any type of blemish to form.