Exactly why some people get acne and some do not is not fully known. It is known to be partly hereditary. Several factors are known to cause acne:
- Hormonal activity
- Hyperactive sebaceous glands
- Accumulation of dead skin cells
- Bacteria in the pores
- Skin irritation or scratching of any sort
- Anabolic steroids
- Birth control pills, however many women have reported reduced acne while on the pill
Those exposed to high levels of chlorine compounds, particularly chlorinated dioxins, often develop severe, long-lasting acne, known as Chloracne
Consumption of heat damaged foods. Proteins exposed to heat are altered in such a way that digestive enzymes are unable to break them down into constituent amino acids. These proteins are processed by lymph glands and excreeted through the skin. Due to the hydophelic nature of protein, subcutaneous water pressure is increased which closes off sebum canals, trapping bacteria. A cyst is the result.
Not causes for acne
Since the medical knowledge about acne is still relatively small, many misconceptions and rumours about what causes acne exists:
- Diet. Chocolate, chips, sugar, milk and seafood among others have not been shown to affect acne.
- Deficient personal hygiene. Acne is not caused by dirt. This misconception probably comes from the fact that blackheads by their nature are black and the acne infected skin, therefore, looks dirty.
- Sex. Rumours have had it that both celibacy and masturbation are causes for acne. This is not the case.
Acne is the most common skin disorder, and while it usually appears in adolescence, adults can get it too. Acne occurs when hair follicles and the sebaceous glands inside the follicles are inflamed. Sebaceous glands make an oily substance called sebum. Too much sebum can clog the follicles and lead to bacterial growth and inflammation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the four basic mechanisms contributing to acne are hormones, increased sebum production, changes inside hair follicles, and bacteria. Acne usually occurs at age 11 to 14 when the body starts producing male hormones called androgens. Androgens can over-stimulate sebaceous glands and make them produce more sebum.
Dead cells inside hair follicles normally are shed and come out onto the surface of the skin. But in people with acne, the cells are shed faster, stick together, mix with sebum, and clog the follicle. Then bacteria contaminate the skin cell and sebum mixture and grow. When the body's immune system tries to destroy the bacteria, inflammation results.
Accutane helps the function of the follicles return to normal, lowers production of sebum, slows the growth of a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), and reduces inflammation and the chance for scarring. The drug is unique in its ability to affect all main underlying causes of acne formation.