Let's be honest: we've all had a pimple here and there. Some of us might have them a bit more frequently than others, while some individuals have gorgeous skin without even trying! In fact, acne affects 3 in every 4 people from ages 11 to 30 years old. Acne can happen for a variety of different reasons which we will discuss in this blog. So, what exactly is acne?
Well, our skin has pores that are connected to glands under our skin which produce oil. Follicles are what connect the glands to our pores. These glands produce sebum, which is essential what we know as "oil." Sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin, and hair grows through the follicle out of the skin.
Pimples can form when these follicles get blocked; skin cells, sebum, and hair can build up and "plug" the follicle. Then, it gets infected with bacteria and the swelling begins.
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the name of the bacteria that lives on the skin and contributes to the infection of pimples. It's important to note that not all acne bacteria can trigger pimples!
Pimples vary in size, color, and level of pain. Here are some common types of acne:
Whiteheads - These remain under the skin and are small; characterized by a white "top."
Blackheads - Clearly visible on the surface of the skin, they appear as "black."
Nodules - Clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are large, solid, painful pimples that are embedded deep in the skin.
Cysts - Visible on the surface of the skin. These are painful and filled with pus. Cystic Acne needs to be treated by a professional, such as a dermatologist.
Risk Factors for Acne
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to one's acne. Depending on the individual, they might only experience one factor, or they might experience multiple. Genetics is a strong indicator of potential for acne, as well as the menstrual cycle, general hormonal changes, anxiety and emotional stress, hot and humid climates, using greasy/oil-based makeup, some medications, and squeezing pimples.
There are different routes you can take when it comes to dealing with various degrees of acne. If you have the occasional pimple or mild acne, you can adopt some habits that might decrease your chances of breakouts, such as developing a consistent skincare routine. If you suffer from more severe acne breakouts, we suggest visiting an esthetician or dermatologist! Dealing with acne is not a "one size fits all" solution, and we understand that it can be frustrating. Experimenting with different skincare products, like serums, exfoliants, or face masks might prove beneficial on your journey to minimize breakouts.
If you've suffered from acne, what has helped YOU keep breakouts at bay?!