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Acne: Causes and Myths

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Posted May 21, 2012 in News

Young woman popping a pimple on her forehead
This week were going to be discussing acne: both its causes and treatment options that are available at NOVA Plastic Surgery. Though it is most often associated with teenagers, acne can affect people of all ages. It can also leave scarring and pigmentation that can leave your skin looking less than clear, even when youre not having any outbreaks.What is Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the opening of the skins pores become blocked, causing sebum (naturally occurring skin oil) to buildup beneath the surface of the skin. Bacteria becomes trapped along with the sebum, and the pore can then become inflamed. The sebum can oxidize, causes it to darken and become a blackhead.
What Causes Acne?
There is no one specific cause of acne, aside from the mechanics of sebum clogging the opening of the pore. Puberty is one of the factors that can lead to acne, since hormonal changes increase the levels of sebum produced by the skin.
Other factors that can contribute to an acne breakout or exacerbate an existing one include pressure from helmets or irritation from collars rubbing the face, certain medications, using pore-clogging cosmetics or skin care products, using harsh skin care products that over-dry the skin, and exposure to certain industrial chemicals. Picking at existing acne can make it last longer, as well.
There are several myths about other causes of acne. According to research, there is no connection between eating greasy foods and acne. Some research points to a link between dairy and acne, but those findings are not conclusive.
Sweat and dirt are also not causes of acne. The myth that a person with acne has dirty skin is perpetuated by the brown appearance of blackheads, but those are caused by oxidized sebum, not dirt. Sweat also does not clog pores. Heredity is another mythical cause of acne. Some varieties of severe acne can have a genetic component, but typical teen acne does not have a genetic cause.
Similarly, stress does not cause acne breakouts, nor does lack of sleep. However, both conditions can worsen existing acne, especially since they can lead to the person forgetting to wash his or her face.
If you want to schedule a consultation at our office in Northern Virginia, call us at (703) 574-2588 or click here.
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