What is acne?
Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms. Acne commonly occurs during puberty, when the sebaceous glands activate, but it can occur at any age. It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars.
What causes acne?
Your skin has pores that connect to oil glands beneath the skin. Follicles connect the glands to the pores. These glands produce an oily liquid called sebum. Sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin.
When these follicles get blocked, oil builds up under the skin leading to spots. Skin cells, sebum and hair can clump together into a plug, this plug gets infected with bacteria and causes swelling. A pimple starts to develop when the plug begins to break down.
There are a range of things that cause acne, but the main cause is thought to be a rise in androgen levels. Androgen is a type of hormone whose levels rise when adolescence begins. Rising androgen levels cause the oil glands to grows which cause more sebum. Too much sebum can break down cellular walls in the pores, causing bacteria to grow.
What triggers acne?
- Some medications that contain androgen and lithium
- Greasy cosmetics
- Hormonal changes
- Emotional stress
What active ingredients are good for treating acne?
Resorcinol: helps break down blackheads and whiteheads
Benzoyl peroxide: kills bacteria, accelerates the replacement of skin, and slows the production of sebum
Salicylic acid: assists the breakdown of blackheads and whiteheads and helps reduce inflammation and swelling
Sulfur: exactly how this works is unknown
Retin-A: helps unblock pores through cell turnover
Azelaic acid: strengthens cells that line the follicles, stops sebum eruptions, and reduces bacterial growth.