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What causes acne?

The actual cause of acne is unknown. One important factor does seem to be rising levels of the hormones called androgens (male sex hormones) that are found in both boys and girls at the time of puberty. Another factor is heredity or genetics. Acne does seem to run in families. Girls or women may find their acne flares 2 to 7 days before the onset of their menstrual

period. Pregnancy, coming on or off birth control pills, and stress can make acne worse. Certain drugs (androgens, lithium, and barbiturates) can cause acne. Physical trauma (squeezing, picking, rubbing, hard scrubbing or pressure from helmets, tight collars, or backpacks), greasy cosmetics, and high humidity can make acne worse. Exactly why some people get acne and some do not is not fully known. It is known to be partly hereditary. Several factors are known to be linked to acne:
  • Hormonal activity
  • Hyperactive sebaceous glands
  • Accumulation of dead skin cells
  • Bacteria in the pores
  • Skin irritation or scratching of any sort
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Birth control pills, however many women have reported reduced acne while on the pill
  • Those exposed to high levels of chlorine compounds, particularly chlorinated dioxins, often develop severe, long-lasting acne, known as Chloracne
  • Traditionally, attention has focussed mostly on over-production of sebum as the main contributing factor of acne. More recently, more attention has been given to narrowing of the follicle channel as a second main contributing factor. Abnormal shedding of the cells lining the follicle, abnormal cell binding ("hyperkeratinization") within the follicle, and water retention in the skin (swelling the skin and so pressing the follicles shut) have all been put forward as mechanisms involved, but there does not appear to be much conclusive medical research on the subject.

    More information on acne

    What is acne? - Acne is an inflammatory skin disease which affects the tiny pores which cover the face, arms, back and chest and the oil glands attached to them.
    What causes acne? - One important factor does seem to be rising levels of the hormones called androgens (male sex hormones) that are found in both boys and girls at the time of puberty. Another factor is heredity or genetics.
    What's the treatment for acne? - Acne treatments include killing the bacteria that are caused by the blocked follicles, reducing the secretion of oils from the glands, normalizing the follicle cell lifecycle, and exfoliating the skin.
    Acne medicine and medications - Topical acne medications may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or tretinoin, or retinoic acid. There are numerous non-prescription acne cleansers, astringents, moisturizers and pimple creams available.
    Acne scars and treatments - Acne scars occur when spots become inflamed or don't heal properly. Acne scars are very hard to treat and it is unusual for the scars to be successfully removed completely.
    What is acne rosacea (adult acne)? - Acne rosacea is a chronic skin condition of the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Rhinophyma may also develop in association with inflammatory rosacea.
    What causes acne rosacea? - Flare-ups of rosacea are caused by triggers that stimulate the blood vessels in the face to dilate, which causes facial flushing. There may be some relationship between rosacea and Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
    What are the symptoms of acne rosacea? - Symptoms of acne rosacea include frequent flushing, vascular rosacea, inflammatory rosacea, and several other conditions involving the skin, eyes, and nose.
    What're the treatments for acne rosacea? - The goal of treatment for rosacea is to reduce or eliminate symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse. Presently, there is no cure for rosacea. 
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    All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005