What Causes Acne

There has been extensive research into this disease and dermatologists blame four main factors in the skin.

• Firstly, the body seems to become extremely sensitive to the male hormones (the androgens) in the body.

• Men and women have male hormones, but because men have higher levels, this is why they are often more affected.

• Secondly these male hormones do not have to be in high doses to get the oil producing glands (sebaceous glands) over worked, which in turn makes them pump out more oil.

• Thirdly in those affected by acne, the dead skin cells that sit near the top surface of the skin start to slow down their rate of shedding and clog up the pores where the oil normally escapes from.

• The combination of these two will result in the skin forming a tiny blockage, the starting point for all types of acne.

Acne Myths

The starting point of correct acne management should start from clearing up the myths:

1. Acne is caused by food. Scientific studies have not found a link between diet and acne. Prisoners in the United States were enrolled on a trial to determine whether chocolate had a direct effect upon the sebaceous glands. At the end of the trial, it was concluded that acne was not affected by chocolate consumption. However, it is always sensible to advise a healthy, balanced diet, whilst reassuring that food will not affect acne.

2. Acne is contagious. Doctors have studied the effect of extracting pus from one spot and injecting it directly into unaffected skin. This experiment concluded that it did not spread spots. 3. Acne is caused by dirt. Spots are caused by activity beneath the skin and therefore surface dirt will play only a small role in the formation of acne. People think that the black in a blackhead is caused by dirt, but it is the skin’s natural melanin which turns black once it comes into contact with the air. Some people will even claim that over-washing can cause acne, but this may be hard to prove.

Assessing the Acne Patient

There are literally hundreds of ways that acne can be treated and many reasons for apparent failure of a product. To confidently recommend appropriate treatment, will depend upon answers to the following:

What does their acne look like to you? Acne is a visual disease and most commonly occurs on the face, although the back, neck, chest and shoulders may also be affected. You need to look for:

• Blackheads/Whiteheads – Non inflamed acne
• Yellow and/or red spots – Inflamed acne • Or combination of both
• Scarring
• Excessively greasy skin