What Causes Acne?
Acne vulgaris is the world’s most common skin disease. Anyone of any age can get it, but teens and young adults are most likely to suffer acne outbreaks. In fact, 80 percent of people ages 11-30 have acne outbreaks at least occasionally.
To understand acne, you have to start with human hair. Hair shafts cover the human body and are everywhere except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Some hair is visible, and some is very fine and nearly invisible. Each follicle is embedded in the skin with an oil gland called a sebaceous gland.
Acne Starts at Puberty
Oil glands are small in children, but puberty (and testosterone in particular) causes these glands to grow larger. They secrete oil and cellular debris in a substance called sebum. Sebum keeps the skin flexible and acts as a protective barrier against water evaporation on the skin’s surface. It also keeps hair shiny and soft.
Acne and Clogged Pores
Sometimes skin cells clog up these follicles, also known as pores. With the pores clogged, sebum gets trapped inside. Skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) starts to grow inside the pores, too. The bacteria cause inflammation. When the clogged pore bursts open, all the sebum and P. acnes bacteria spill onto the surface of the skin, causing breakouts.