Hate acne as much as we do? Check out our guide to get a better understanding of where it comes from, different types of acne and how to treat it.
CAUSES OF ACNE
Fluctuating hormones may cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. When sebum is combined with dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells, clogged pores and acne will likely occur.
Although there is no specific gene for acne, your genetics can play a factor in your ability to fight acne-causing bacteria. Some families may be genetically more prone to overproducing sebum and/or dead skin cells, leading to clogged pores and oily skin that ultimately results in acne.
Cortisol, a stress hormone, increases oil production and inflammation which results in acne flare-ups. Since our natural cell turnover rate slows over time, adults are more prone to the buildup of dead skin cells. When mixed with stress hormones, this weakens our skin barrier and causes breakouts.
Foods that make your blood sugar rise rapidly can cause your body to release insulin, a peptide hormone. If you have an excess of insulin in your blood, your glands produce oil faster and lead to breakouts. Some foods to be cautious of are pasta, white rice, white bread, and foods high in sugar.
TYPES OF ACNE
ACNE TYPE #1
Comedones are small skin-colored bumps that are very common, especially for those with oily skin. There are two main types of comedonal acne: open and closed. OPEN comedones (exposed to outside air) are blackheads and CLOSED comedones (under the skin’s surface) are whiteheads.
Comedonal acne occurs when dead skin cells get trapped within hair follicles. This combined with all the natural oils in your pores (sebum) can cause acne to form. Here are some factors that may be causing your comedonal acne:
• Diets high in sugars, fats and dairy
• Follicle injury from popping and picking pimples
• Over-hydration from high humid or using the wrong moisturizer for your skin type
• Laser therapy and/or chemical peels
• Comedogenic cosmetics (blocks pores)
ACNE TYPE #2
Inflammatory acne appears as pus-filled bumps with a red or pink base. Unlike comedonal acne, inflamed acne is deeper under the surface and deals with bacteria. The two types of inflammatory acne are PAPULES and PUSTULES. Papules are small, pus-filled red bumps that usually occur when blackheads or whiteheads become overly irritated. Pustules are similar but are larger in size and can be more painful.
Inflamed acne happens when pores are deeply clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells which result in swelling, redness and irritation. Hormones may also be a culprit for inflammatory acne, whether it’s related to the menstrual cycle or stress. Other aggravators may include:
• Excess activity of androgens (male sex hormones)
• A diet with too much sugar and/or carbohydrates
• Certain medications
• Popping/picking other pimples, as it can spread and lead to scarring
ACNE TYPE #3
Nodulocystic acne is the most severe form of acne. NODULES and CYSTS form deep underneath the skin’s surface and are usually quite painful. Nodular acne appears as firm lumps and can be red or skin colored. Cystic acne looks like large, red boils but due to the fluid inside, its softer than nodules.
Nodulocystic acne forms when a combination of bacteria, oil and dry skin cells get trapped in your pores. Nodules are a result of bacteria or sebum getting trapped in your pores and turning into an infection underneath your skin, causing pores to become red and swollen. Cysts are the largest, deepest and most painful form of acne. They are filled with pus and tender to the touch.
ACNE TYPE #4
Fungal acne consists of small pimple-like bumps and irritated skin that is often itchy. These bumps are usually all the same size. Unlike other forms of acne that are a result of oil and bacteria trapped in pores, fungal acne is caused by an overgrowth of yeast (a type of fungus).
Yeast is always present on our skin; however, when it becomes imbalanced, fungal acne can occur. This leads to an infection in your skin’s hair follicles and appears with acne-like symptoms. Some things that may trigger this imbalance may include:
• Wearing sweaty workout clothes for too long (trapped moisture)
• Medication such antibiotics which reduce bacteria on your skin and may allow for an overgrowth of fungus
• Compromised immune systems
• Dietary changes (try balancing your intake of sweets and carbohydrates)
• Regularly wearing tight, non-breathable clothing that traps sweat and moisture
• Warm, moist climates