Acne is a chronic skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil. It is prevalent among teenagers, affecting up to 85% of adolescents in North America. The areas of the skin most commonly affected by acne are those with a high concentration of oil glands, such as the face, upper chest, and back. Acne-prone skin typically exhibits a combination of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and potential scarring.
Various factors contribute to the development of acne.
1. Hormonal Changes: The surge in hormones during puberty triggers the production of excess oil in the skin, leading to clogged hair follicles and the formation of acne.
2. Genetic Predisposition: Family history plays a role in acne development. Individuals with a family history of acne are more likely to experience it themselves.
3. Excessive Oil Production: Some people naturally produce more oil in their skin, increasing the likelihood of clogged pores and acne.
4. Bacterial Infection: The presence of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria found on the skin, can contribute to the formation of acne. When the hair follicles become clogged, this bacterium multiplies, causing inflammation and infection.
5. Inflammation: Inflammation plays a significant role in the development of acne. When the hair follicles become clogged, the body's immune response triggers an inflammatory reaction, leading to the formation of pimples and nodules.
6. Environmental Factors: External elements like pollution and certain pollutants present in food can contribute to the development of acne by increasing inflammation and clogging pores.
7. Diet: Although the link between diet and acne is not fully established, some studies suggest that high-glycemic foods (such as sugary snacks and processed carbohydrates) and dairy products may worsen acne symptoms in certain individuals.
8. Psychological Factors: Emotional stress and psychological disturbances can potentially exacerbate acne in some individuals due to hormonal changes and increased inflammation. It is important to note that these causes of acne may vary depending on cultural beliefs and medical traditions. For instance, traditional Chinese medicine associates acne with different types of bodily "heat" and attributes it to factors such as lung heat, stomach heat, toxic heat, damp heat, and blood heat. However, these associations may not be universally recognized or accepted in all medical contexts.