Can You Tell Me What To Expect when I get Acne?

Acne (pimples) can occur at any age but are more commonly seen on the faces of teenagers. Acne happens due to congested pores, or appears as whiteheads and blackheads, pimples or pustules or even cysts (deep pimples).

Blemishes can appear anywhere on the skin where there are sebaceous glands (oil glands). The most common places for breakout is the face, chest and back.

Treatment is available through a dermatologist, purchased in stores or online. A physician should be consulted if the acne is bothersome or severe.

Acne is caused when hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce oil. Male hormones from the adrenal glands of boys and girls stimulate the oil. Oil has a purpose and that is to lubricate the skin and also to protect the skin. The oil can cause bacteria to multiply and surround tissue, which then becomes inflamed.

The inflammation near the surface forms a pustule. Oil that breaks through to the surface and becomes oxidized changes to a blackhead. A whitehead is caused by oil that has not been oxidized.

Factors that are usually blamed for acne unfairly and that normally do not cause acne (at least by themselves) are heredity, food, dirt, stress, hormones, and also cosmetics.

Heredity is not a cause for acne because all people at one time or another experience acne to some extent. Your acne may not appear in the same intensity as your parent’s acne did.

Food gets blamed for acne all the time especially pizza, chocolate and greasy foods such as french fries. The truth is that these foods although they may not be good if you eat them all the time do not necessary cause acne.

Dirt and oily skin are two different things. Neither does sweat cause acne. Excessive washing of skin can dry it out and irritate the skin.

Stress does not cause pimples. People do however becomes stressed out when they get pimples. Sometimes when they stress out over the appearance of pimples, they pick at the pimples which only makes them lasts longer as they then have to heal.

Women tend to break out during their menstrual cycle but the hormones do not actually cause the acne, clogged pores and excessive oil can.

Cosmetics and other skin care products do not clog pores which some people used to think caused acne. However makeup and skin care products that are “water-based” or “oil-free” are generally better for your skin.

What does cause acne?

Things that can contribute to acne besides excessive oil are: pressure from helmets, chinstraps, and also collars that can aggrevate acne.

Certain medications can worsen acne such as iodides, bromides and also oral or injected steroids.

There are also some occupations that can aggrevate the skin due to industrial chemicals in the air or exposure to oils.

There are two skin conditions that can mimic acne rosacea and pseudofolliculitis. Rosacea is a condition that affects individuals usually in their 30’s and 40’s. There are no whiteheads or blackheads with rosacea. Rosacea appears in the middle of the face and is usually accompanied by redness, flushing of the skin and superficial blood vessels becoming more noticeable.

Pseudofolliculitis is also called “razor bumps” or “razor rash”. The razor cutting too close to the skin causes it and curly neck hairs bend under the skin and this produces pimples. This is not caused by acne but by a mechanical means (the razor), so it is not acne. To avoid pseudofolliculitis, do not shave as close, shave less often, or grow a beard. You can also use laser hair removal to remove the hair without the razor burn.