What is acne? How does acne develop?
Acne is a common skin disorder that affects women and men of all ages and races equally but most commonly it appears among teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 because of high level of hormones produced in their body during that period of time. In terms of definition acne is a disease of the Pilosebaceous units (PSU), an integral part of skin which includes the hair follicle (hair producing organ) and associated sebaceous gland (oil producing gland).
These units cover most of our body. On the the facial area, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms, they are in much larger number, so that is the explanation why acne usually develops in these particular areas.
The sebaceous gland is very small gland in the skin that produce an oily substance called sebum. Main purpose of sebum is to make our skin lubricated, protected and waterproof. And also, sebum helps carry dead skin cells out of the hair follicle to the surface of skin so that the body can eliminate them.
Sometimes the hair follicle gets blocked by the excessive or overproduced sebum and dead cells. Now, this triggers the hair canal to narrow what causes clogged skin pores (very small opening in our skin through which our hair grows).
That trapped sebum and dead cells creates the plug called microcomedo, invisible to the human eye. As the amount of trapped sebum and dead cells grows causing a lot of pressure, hair follicle blows up and becomes a vissible comedo (comedones – plural).
Because of bacteria present on our skin known as Propionibacterium acnes, comedones becomes a red, painful and swelling inflammatory lesion. This is happening when the enzyme lipase produced by this bacteria brakes apart triglicerides (body fats) into smaller free fatty acids that are very irritating to the skin. This irritation causes our body immune system to release white and red blood cells to close the affected area. However overflowing as well as accumulated sebum and dead cells causes inflammation.
As a result, red, swollen and often painful acne lesion is formed.
This is the basic explanation how acne can develop from mild to more severe inflammatory acne lesion.
Even though acne is not a contagious and life-threatening disease, the more severe cases can very easily be stressing, physically disfiguring, or even leaving behind permanent scars on affected areas.
As a conclusion we can say that acne is a skin disorder or disease caused by the clogged skin pores filled with mix of oily substance called sebum and dead skin cells.