Acne is a condition arising from problems with the skin’s oil glands (more commonly known as sebatious glands). The sebatious glands open into follicles (or canals) under the surface of the skin where body hairs are rooted. The sebatious glands produce and secrete an oily substance known as sebum. The main function of sebum is to act as a lubricant helping to stop the skin drying out by retaining moisture, thus keeping skin free from dryness and irritation. The secreted sebum passes into the follicle around the hair and then reaches the skin’s surface through the small hole located in the surface of the skin at the end of the follicle, which is known as a pore.
Acne occurs when the pore becomes clogged or blocked, usually due to dead skin cells sticking together and then sealing or capping the pore. The sebatious glands continue to secrete sebum, so the blocked or capped pore starts to swell because the sebum has nowhere to go.
Some of the bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) that occur naturally on the skin and live on sebum are trapped inside the blocked pore. These multiply in this protected environment and secrete chemicals that start to eat away at the walls of the pore, allowing sebum to seep out into the lower levels of the skin and spread the infection further.
The body, of course, reacts to this and sends white blood cells to fight this infection, which results in further swelling, redness and pain. The pore and nearby infected areas keep swelling until there is only one way it can expand, which is out onto the skin, and lo and behold, a spot or zit appears.
When the cap on the zit is unbroken, the sebum inside remains a creamy white colour and is known as a whitehead. Once the cap of the zit explodes, the sebum reacts to the air and turns black, forming a blackhead.
When a larger area suffers from this infection, many of these ‘spots’ link up and can cause wider wounds or lesions. The word lesion comes from the Latin ‘laesio’ meaning attack or injury.
Acne usually occurs around the face or neck although it can occur anywhere on the body. Acne is a very upsetting condition to have, especially when suffering from a bad attack. The sight of spots and blackheads is not considered very pleasant and can leave those who suffer feeling very self conscious and embarrassed. The irony is that almost everyone suffers with acne to some degree during their life, so far from being the exception, acne is in fact, the rule.
It is almost always the case that if you do have acne, it will eventually go away. However, nowadays, if you are fortunate, you can usually minimise or eradicate acne within weeks once you have found a treatment that works for you.
This and further artcles on acne can be found at [http://www.cure-acne.co.uk]