Acne is caused when tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked.
Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of your skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles, which are small holes in your skin that an individual hair grows out of.
Sebaceous glands lubricate the hair and the skin to stop it drying out. They do this by producing an oily substance called sebum.
In acne, the glands begin to produce too much sebum. The excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and both substances form a plug in the follicle.
If the plugged follicle is close to the surface of the skin, it bulges outwards, creating a whitehead. Alternatively, the plugged follicle can be open to the skin, creating a blackhead.
Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles, causing papules, pustules, nodules or cysts.
Teenage acneis thought to be triggered by increased levels of a hormone called testosterone, which occurs during puberty. The hormone plays an important role in stimulating the growth and development of the penis and testicles in boys, and maintaining muscle and bone strength in girls.
The sebaceous glands are particularly sensitive to hormones.It's thought that increased levels oftestosterone cause the glands to produce much more sebum than the skin needs.
Acnecan run in families. If your parents had acne, it's likely that you'll also develop it.
One study has found that if both your parents had acne, you're more likely to get more severe acne at an early age. It also found that if one or both of your parents had adult acne, you're more likely to get adult acne too.
More than80% ofcases of adult acneoccur in women. It's thought that many cases of adult acne arecaused bythe changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times.
Other possible triggers of an acne flare-up include:
Despite being one of the most widespread skin conditions, acne is also one of the most poorly understood.There aremany myths and misconceptions about it:
So far, research hasn't found any foods that cause acne. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is recommended because it's good for your heart and your health in general.
Most of the biological reactions that trigger acne occur beneath the skin, not on the surface, sothe cleanliness of your skinhasno effect on your acne. Washing your face more than twice a day could just aggravate your skin.
This could actually make symptoms worse and may leave you with scarring.
Having sex or masturbating won't make acne any better or worse.
There's no conclusive evidence that prolonged exposure to sunlight or using sunbeds or sunlamps can improve acne. Many medications used to treat acne can make your skin more sensitive to light, so exposure could cause painful damage to your skin, and also increase your risk of skin cancer.
You can't pass acne on to other people.
Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that's hot or painful to touch.
Teenage acne is thought to be triggered by increased levels of a hormone called testosterone, which occurs during puberty.
Your GP will be able diagnosis acne by looking at your skin. This will involve examining your face, chest and back for the different types of spot.