Pimples start its life cycle 2 to 3 weeks before it appears on the surface of the skin. It begins in the hair follicles where sebaceous glands are found. In each hair follicle, the sebaceous glands produce sebum to keep your skin supple and moisturised. At the same time, your skin renews itself regularly by shedding old skin cells. In normal circumstances, the skin cells shed gradually to make room for fresh new skin cells.
The problem arises when the sebaceous glands secrete more sebum than it should or when the skin cells shed unevenly. When skin cells do not shed normally and accumulate to form a layer that clogs the pores, they form a plug within the pore and follicles. When sebum mixes with dead skin cells and clogs the pores, acne bacteria, also known as Propionibacterium Acnes can develop. Acne develops when the mixture of sebum, dead skin cells, and acne bacteria causes the nearby tissue to be inflamed and filled with pus.
Acne is a very common problem that affects not only teenagers, but many adults as well. Genetics and hormones are contributing factors as to whether you will get acne. For example, the surge in testosterone during puberty causes oil glands in the skin to secrete more sebum, potentially causing acne. Some main causes of acne and pimples are:
HORMONES For most people, skin problems start when they go through puberty. Hormonal changes cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and become more active. Other life events can also lead to flare-ups such as menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
SEBUM PRODUCTION When the glands are very active, they produce more sebum. As the sebum and dead skin clog the skin surface, the acne bacteria may cause inflammation which then leads to acne and pimples.
LACK OF EXFOLIATION Our skin goes through a continuous renewal process. When your body is unable to remove the dead skin cells fast enough, you may need to help by exfoliating your body of old cells to allow new skin cells to come to surface so that you have a healthier, brighter skin. Exfoliating dead skin cells also helps to clear the clogs so that acne bacteria does not stay in your skin.
Acne and pimples do not only leave scars on a person’s face which may be embarrassing, but also affects someone’s mental wellbeing and self-confidence. Because of the many causative factors, battling acne often requires a multi-prong approach which includes creams, facials, medical treatments, and/or oral medication.
Know Your Problems
- Acne is caused by excessive sebum production, clogging of pores, and infection of the clogged pores by skin bacteria.
- Treatment strategies are multi-pronged. This includes killing the bacteria with antibiotics and LED Blue Light, heating up the skin to reduce sebum production, and peels to increase cell turn-over, for example.