What Causes Acne

It’s Not Your Fault

We have all heard people exclaim with certainty, “If you eat that chocolate, you’ll get zits,” or, “Wash your face more and you won’t get pimples.” Nothing could be further from the truth! That’s right – it’s all fiction. We should all strive to eat nutritious foods for overall better health, which does keep your systems working. But there is no single food source that will “cause” acne. What causes acne can be one or a combination of factors over which we have little or no control. Knowing these components will help you understand the processes of the body’s largest organ – your skin.

The main culprits as we understand it today are male hormones called androgens. Males and females both have this hormone and production increases at puberty. The androgens enlarge the sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil) at the hair follicle level under the skin. The sebum travels up the hair shaft to the surface if all goes as planned. This process begins as much as two weeks before any outward signs materialize. If the pores become clogged the acne is the result. The extra amount of sebum in the pores becoming mixed with bacteria and dead cells as they make their way to the surface is what causes acne.

Another factor in what causes acne is hereditary. There seems to be a genetic component leading to increased chances of developing acne if your biological family members have had it. This is still being studied. The structure of the hair follicle itself can contribute to acne problems. These are found all over the body with the exception of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Sebum is secreted all the time to keep your skin lubricated and protected from the elements. The follicle structure could be interfering with the process.

Bacteria also play a part with what causes acne. This bacterium, Propionibacterium, is a natural part of the maintenance requirements for the skin. If, however, a pore becomes clogged, the bacteria multiply and cause irritation. This is due to your healthy immune system response to fighting infection. White blood cells collect and wage war on the bacteria just as they should. The result is acne. When you wash you should treat your skin gently. Do not scrub – this could further the eruptions of acne. Also while you are eating healthy, that piece of chocolate or slice of pizza is not going to make you have zits.