Many individuals suffer from acne, not just adolescents. Acne is caused by normally occurring bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes. This bacterium gets trapped in plugged skin pores or follicles, especially in the face. In an attempt to escape, the bacterium produce enzymes used to break down the sebum (the excretion produced by sebaceous glands) blocking the escape routes. When the enzymes go to work one of the side effects is inflammation in the area.
Light to moderate cases of inflammation show up as pimples and bumps. This type of acne is known as superficial acne. If the inflammation is deeper within the skin and pores, resulting in cysts and nodules, it is called cystic acne.
The excess sebum is actually a byproduct of testosterone production in the body. This is why young adolescent boys going through puberty and other individuals who are taking testosterone enhanced dietary supplements most often exhibit signs of acne. In women, the hormonal changes occurring before the menstrual cycle may also cause sporadic outbreaks.
A second cause of acne can be traced to diet and a lack of essential fatty acids. The body needs a particular quantity of essential fatty acids to remain in balance. The typical Western diet does not provide adequate amounts for most people. In place of essential fatty acids, trans-fats and other non-essential fats are found in large quantities. This fat ratio imbalance tips the scale in favor of excess sebum production leading to outbreaks of acne.
Particular chemicals and drugs may also be a factor in the appearance of acne. Any drug with added hormones or that change the hormonal balance of the body is a possible culprit. Corticosteroids and industrial pollutants may also be a contributing factor.
Overall health is crucial to remaining acne free. This includes a healthy diet, improved colon health, gentle but effective skin care and decreased exposure to chemicals and drugs which can affect the natural hormone levels of the body.
Rachel Dayer runs and operates http://www.mustask.com - a health related e-zine. Visit her site for more health related articles.