Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

This condition is most prevalent/common in teenagers and young adults and takes effect during the onset of puberty. Puberty causes various shifts and changes in the hormonal balance.

Acne is one of them.

As one grows, the hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (an oily substance that lubricates the skin), which can cause the glands being overactive. When the Sebaceous gland becomes overactive and secretes too much sebum, this leads to clogs in the skin pores that cause Acne.

This condition is worse with people who have oily skin. It occurs in both boys and girls but is more severe in boys because of the overabundance of sebum they produce.

Whiteheads, Blackheads, Pimples, Cysts, and Nodules are all types of acne.

Acne is not dangerous at all, but it leaves annoying scars on one’s face. This can be very frustrating and depressing.

Factors That Cause Acne Include:

● Hair Follicles Clogged by Oil and Dead Skin Cells

When excess sebum is secreted and cannot be regulated by the skin, it builds up under the skin and clogs the pores of the skin. When this oil stocks there for sometime, it forms spots/pimples. When this clog gets infected with bacteria, the swelling develops. The breakdown of this swelling results in pimples.

● Excess Activity of Androgen

Simply put, Androgens are a group of sex hormones responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. Adolescence stimulates the rise of these hormones, which causes the sebum to secrete more oil and can lead to clogging of pores.

In women, Androgen gets converted into estrogen.

● Genetic Factors

Some families may have a hereditary tendency to overproduce dead skin cells, which may lead to more clogged pores, which can cause acne. A family line may also have a genetic tendency to overproduce sebum, leading to oily skin that can trap bacteria in pores, resulting in more frequent breakouts.

● Emotional Stress

When under stress, the body pumps out more of certain hormones, such as cortisol. These hormones cause glands under your skin to produce more oil, which could lead to clogging and then breakouts.

● Mensuration

Hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. Just before your period starts, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This can trigger your sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum. Too much can cause clogged pores and breakouts.

● Greasy Cosmetics

Some makeups and skin and hair care products contain oil or other ingredients that can cause acne breakouts.

Prevention and Treatment Tips

- Wash your face no more than twice a day with warm water and mild soap (especially for acne).

- Do not scrub the skin or burst the pimples, as this may spread the infection around the face, causing more clogging, swelling, and redness.

- Avoid popping pimples. It makes scarring likelier.

- Refrain from touching the face, this helps spread bacteria and dirt on the skin.

- Hold the phone away from the face when talking, as it is likely to contain sebum and skin residue.

- Wash hands frequently, especially before applying lotions, creams, or makeup.

- Clean spectacles regularly as they collect sebum and skin residue.

- If acne is on the back, shoulders, or chest, try wearing loose clothing to let the skin breathe. Avoid tight garments, such as headbands, caps, and scarves and wash them regularly if used.

- Choose makeup for sensitive skin and avoid oil-based products. Remove makeup before sleeping.

- Use an electric shaver or sharp safety razors when shaving. Soften the skin and beard with warm soapy water before applying shaving cream.

- Keep hair clean, as it collects sebum and skin residue. Avoid greasy hair products, such as those containing cocoa butter.

- Avoid excessive sun exposure, as it can cause the skin to produce more sebum.

- Avoid anxiety and stress, it can increase production of cortisol and adrenaline, which increases acne.

- Try to keep cool and dry in hot climates, to prevent sweating.

There are natural remedies, cosmetic products, drugs and DIY products that can treat acne.

Acne is a common problem which can be embarrassing, however, treatments are available and effective most times.