If you aren't a sufferer of the effects of acne, feel lucky. Acne is one of the most common skin diseases in the United States, affecting some 17 million people.
By definition, it occurs when the pores of the skin are plugged, where the natural oil, called sebum, can't reach the pore's surface.
Doctors believe that it could be the overproduction of sebum that contributes to the clogging of pores, which results in the formation of pimples and zits. All of this occurs especially around the time of puberty, adolescence and even into adulthood.
Problems with severe acne can go on for years, even into one's forties or fifties.
The sebaceous glands, which produce the sebum, connect to the hair follicle. Breakouts of pimples and/or zits on the face, upper-back and chest are most common in this are because this is where the glands are most active.
While acne isn't a deadly disease, per se, it can lead to problems later for those who've been inflicted by it. Whiteheads and blackheads can last for an extended period of time, causing irritation and inflammation.
Sufferers of acne usually become self-conscious if the pimples and zits lead to cysts that can leave deep facial scars. These scars may never truly disappear.
Now that we understand the biological factors that contribute to acne, we can focus on the environmental and genetic aspects of the disease. As far as genetics are concerned, adolescents with a family history of acne tend to also have the disease.
At some level, it's the way our genes program our glands and hormones, which in turn affects how much oil the glands produce.
Other factors can actually make acne worse. Greasy make-up, and other types of drugs, usually androgens, can cause acne to flare up. Women are more at risk as their menstrual cycle nears each month.
Wearing tight collars, hats or even bags over the shoulders can also contribute. Many times the weather can also affect acne. A hot and humid day can cause a breakout.
Also, squeezing, popping or picking at lesions (pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and zits) will not help at all. In fact, the oil and bacteria on your hands will actually clog other surrounding pores more.
So not everyone can avoid Acne, but if you know the causes, then there's a chance to prevent it.
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