Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Eeek! Where did this Acne Come From?!

A few of you have asked me beauty questions regarding acne and acne treatments. I like to be thorough with my answers so now is the perfect time for a blog series on acne. We will start with the causes, after all, if you don't know why it happens how can you treat it?

The source of acne lies far beneath the skin's surface in the sebaceous hair follicles (also known as pores). The sebaceous glands produce an oil called sebum which is your skin's natural "moisture" supply. If all goes well then when your skin cells die, they are sloughed off in your sebum supply. Sometimes, things go awry and your skin cells don't slough evenly. Whatever is left of dead skin cells and bacteria etc gets sticky and clogs the sebaceous hair follicle(s). Overtime, there is a build up of sebum, dead cells and bacteria which presents itself in the form of a pimple or acne. In addition to the gookey stuff, the body will respond by sending an army of white blood cells to fight the bacteria-- those get stuck too and while in battle increase pressure in the bump and cause it to hurt. Ultimately the factors that affect acne are your body's rate of skin cell regeneration and sebum production.

The above is fact. The following is my educated opinion. I welcome my esthy friends to weigh in.

The consensus in the medical/scientific world is that dirt, food and most cosmetics do not cause or even affect the severity of acne. I beg to differ. Keeping in mind that acne is generally caused by dead skin cells and bacteria becoming sticky and clogging the pores, I can't imagine how dirt wouldn't get stuck in there too. I have the same theory for makeup that is applied in excess and not properly removed. In regards to food (junk food) our bodies get rid of toxins the best way they know how-- secreting toxins through the pores is not a far cry. Consider this: How many of us have been able to smell garlic on a person's body. I mean, they didn't even have to speak and you just knew they had Italian food for lunch. Or how about the odor of alcohol radiating off of a person that has had entirely too much to drink... Its seeping out of their pores! My point is-- all the chemical preservatives, fat and cholesterol that is ingested from junk food has to get out somehow and the normal exit is not always the most efficient.

So that's acne in a nutshell. There is no real cure for acne, but there are treatments. Once successfully treated, prevention is key. We will discuss courses of action in the next post of the series.

Until then... Stay Glamorous, acne and all!


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