How acne develops and why

Wondering how exactly you ended up with a breakout in the first place? Our MDacne dermatologist is here to explain everything about how acne REALLY develops and how to get rid of it.

Our sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum. This sebum empties onto the skin surface through the follicle's opening, called a pore.

When you have acne, the skin cells at the pore's opening produce a plug. This plug prevents sebum from reaching the skin's surface through a pore and causes the sebaceous gland to enlarge. The larger quantity of clogged oil in the gland makes it easier for the acne bacteria to grow.

Cool. Now, back to the acne bacteria. These bacteria produce chemicals and enzymes and attract white blood cells that cause inflammation. (Inflammation is a characteristic reaction of tissues to disease or injury and is marked by four signs: Swelling, redness, heat, and pain.)

When the wall of the plugged follicle breaks down, it spills everything into the nearby skin — sebum, skin cells, and bacteria (Producing the infamous red, painful acne pimples and cysts).

So — that’s how it goes down. But WHY? Here’s why.

The causes of acne are a mix of genetic factors and hormonal changes. Genetics determine the sensitivity of our sebaceous glands to hormones. Acne will be more severe in people with high gland sensitivity to these hormones. Higher testosterone levels or other hormones can cause acne in people with normal or low glands androgen sensitivity.

We all want to kick acne out of our lives for good. To clear your skin, make sure you’re using the right topical anti-acne ingredients for your specific skin type (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can take a selfie with our free MDacne app, and we’ll assess your skin for you!), avoid foods that can increase breakouts and always use oil-free sunscreens and the right cosmetics. If you want to learn more about acne prevention, keep reading our blogs! We want to keep you as informed as possible about how to clear your breakouts.

To find the right acne treatments for your unique skin, take the free skin assessment by clicking here.

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