How does acne form?

Beneath your skin’s surface there are many follicles (commonly called pores) with sebaceous glands attached to them. These glands produce and secrete a protective oil called sebum.

• During puberty, testosterone levels rise in both sexes. This excess testosterone is taken into the sebaceous glands thereby increasing sebum production.

• At the same time, the keratin in your skin becomes unusually sticky causing the sebum to plug your pores and prevent skin shedding.  

• If the follicle opens, the keratinous material escapes through it and an open comedone or blackhead results. If the follicle does not open sufficiently, a closed comedone or whitehead results, within which inflammation can occur. Most acne sufferers have a combination of both.

• Papules form under the skin’s surface when the follicle wall breaks mixing white blood cells with bacteria.  A few days later, this papule can form into a pustule (commonly known as a pimple) when the follicle becomes red and fills with pus.

• These pustules can explode and inflame the surrounding skin to form nodules or cysts in severe cases.

Read more on how you can treat your acne.

Back to Acne Treatment Home

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