Acne can be a distressing skin condition that leaves those affected with red, inflamed, sore skin and diminished self-confidence. But what are the causes of acne?
• We tend to associate active acne with adolescence, which is generally when it makes its first appearance. It is caused by the changes in hormone levels that occur at this stage of growth. The hormones, known as androgens, that bring about puberty can also result in the enlargement of pores and an increase in the amount of sebum produced by the skin. As the skin sheds dead skin cells, they combine with the sebum and bacteria that are present on the skin. This mixture can form a plug that then blocks the pore; the body continues to produce sebum despite the fact that it cannot reach the skin. This results eventually in inflammation and then infection, as the bacteria multiply within the blocked pore.
• People who are sensitive to androgens tend to suffer more from active acne, and are likely to continue having problems, sometimes well into their adult lives. Women may find that their acne worsens during menstruation and pregnancy for this reason.