Acne affects approximately 95% of the population at some point during their lifetime. This disorder can range from mild to severe forms, and can even cause extensive acne scarring. Regardless of age, gender, or skin color, the cause of acne is the same across the board. It is a hereditary disease of the sebaceous follicles, aka – your pores. Similar to your hair color, you inherited it from your parents.
People with acne have pores that function differently than people without acne. A normal cell sheds about one cell layer per day whereas acne-prone skin sheds up to five cell layers a day. Instead of flowing up and out onto the skin, the excess skin cells begin to accumulate within the pore, where they get stuck.
Also within our pores are oil glands known as “sebaceous glands”. The purpose of this gland is to secrete oil. So when the oil mixes with the extra shed cells, it causes a pile up of debris in the pore. This is the beginning of an acne lesion known as a “microcomedone”. As the oil and dead cells stick together, they fill up the pore. Once they hit the surface of the skin, you have a pimple, pustule, blackhead etc. It can take as much as 90 days from the first formation of a microcomedone until it reaches the surface. So the blemishes you see today, started back quite a while ago. Be wary of any product that promises to clear acne overnight, as it simply isn’t realistic.
While everyone’s pores contain naturally occurring bacteria, in the case of acne sufferers, the combination of oil and dead skin cells create a perfect environment for bacteria to grow rampantly, thus contributing to an acne problem. Bacteria alone, is not the cause of acne. The oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria together, is where the problem occurs.
When you consider these factors of acne-prone skin, you will understand why so many acne treatments don’t work. A successful solution to acne is a process that addresses all factors rather than just one versus another.