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    the basics
key components
    birth of a pimple

    special types
    newborn acne
    infant acne
    hormonal acne
    adult acne
    acne excoriee
    acne cosmetica
    acne conglobata
    acne fulminans

acne myths
    general skin care
    what to avoid



There are several key components that are involved in acne:

Sebum (oil) production
Oil production is a necessary part of acne. The oil or sebum is what drives acne. At the same time, however, being oily or "greasy" does not necessarily mean that you will have acne. Sebaceous (oil) glands are found everywhere on the body except the palms and soles but are most numerous on the face. Oil production can be affected by many factors. Among these factors, increased temperature, UV radiation, and hormones (see below) can increase sebum production while certian medications may help to reduce sebum production.

The main hormones that are responsible for acne are the androgens. These androgens are the "male" type hormone and are found in both men and women. Androgens have many effects on
the skin and in regards to acne, they are the main driving force in increasing sebum (oil) production. The primary androgen that causes increased sebum production is called DHT and
this is formed from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is found
in large quantities in sebaceous glands. In most people, levels of testosterone are normal. The thought is that acne there may be increased conversion of testosterone to DHT in acne prone skin.

Estrogen in general has no effect on oil prodcution. In addition, the body's own progesterone
does not effect the sebaceous glands. However, certain synthetic progesterones (like those
found in certain birth control bills) may lead to significant androgen effects as described above.

The main bacteria that contributes to acne is know as proprionibacterium acnes (p. acnes).
This particular bacteria feeds on the oil produced from the sebaceous glands. In doing so, it
alters the structure of the oil into a substance that makes it more likley to cause comedones.
In addition, the bacteria creates numerous toxic substances that contribute to the break-down
of the pores/follicles as well as attracting inflammation.

Cornification of the pilosebaceous duct
One of the key components of acne is the fact that there is increased production of skin cells around the pores. This may be due to the action of hormones, bacterial products, and certain componetns of sebum. As a result of this increased production of cells, the is blockage of the pores contributing to comedones (black heads and white heads).

When you see pimples and other reddish bumps on the face, you are seeing inflammation. Inflammation results from a combination of chemicals that are produced in the body. In regards
to acne, inflammation may be triggers by rupture of a comedone, as a reaction to substances
that are produced by p. acnes, and other causes.


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