Skin Breakouts: Why You Get Pimples And The Three Causes Of Acne
Here, we take a look at the real reason you get pimples and the main factors that, combined, create the perfect scenario for skin breakouts to occur.
The Three Causes of Acne
If you have ever experienced a pimple breakout on your skin, you have probably also experienced the emotional stress and anxiety that can come with trying to clear or keep acne breakouts under control.
While acne breakouts are considered benign in nature, the reality is that no matter if the breakouts are mild or severe, the sight of pimples on our skin can significantly impact our self-esteem.
With acne being such a common condition (research shows that over 90% of the world's population has been affected by acne at some point in their lives), it’s easy to understand how so many misconceptions about what causes acne can be formed. There are undoubtedly many theories - from eating greasy foods to being stressed or not washing your skin correctly.
However, science shows that it all boils down to three main factors; excess skin oil, acne-causing bacteria and inflammation. It’s these three things combined that create the perfect scenario for breakouts to occur.
Excess Oil (Sebum)
Sebum is the waxy oil that your skin produces in order to moisturise and protect itself. It’s a very complex substance initiated by the sebaceous glands. It’s made up of a mix of triglycerides, wax esters, squalene, cholesterol and free fatty acids combined with dead skin cells which, together with the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of dead skin cells), is a crucial part of your skin’s natural defensive layer.
While we need sebum for our skin to function efficiently, having too much of a good thing can definitely wreak havoc on your skin. Excessive sebum production can cause hair follicles to plug up, blocking the pores and leading to a breakout of whiteheads, blackheads and closed comedones (those white bumps you can see under the skin when you stretch it). Once the pores are choked with sebum plugs, the skin’s protective barrier becomes compromised, and the bacteria that live on our skin (like the p-bacteria that cause acne) move in, causing infection and further inflammation in the form of pustules and acne cysts.
As the largest organ of the human body and the first line of defence for our intricate internal systems, the surface of our skin is actually teeming with trillions of invisible microorganisms, like bacteria, fungi and viruses, that together form an important part of our skin called the Microbiome.
A major resident of a healthy microbiome is ‘propionibacterium acnes’ (also known as p.acnes). While considered a ‘bad’ bacteria, when colonised in balanced numbers, p.acnes bacteria is believed to play an important role in maintaining skin health by controlling the populations of other, more infectious microbes.
The p.acnes bacteria tend to colonise inside of the skin’s pores, feeding off the sebum secreted by the oil glands. However, when our oil glands are stimulated to overproduce sebum, the p.acnes bacteria population explodes, causing an imbalance within the microbiome and triggering an inflammatory response that leads to pimples, breakouts and acne.
Once the skin’s pores have become clogged with excess sebum, and the bad bacteria out number the good bacteria to cause ‘infection’, the skin goes to battle by triggering inflammation!
Inflammation is your skin’s natural and normal response to the presence of bacterial infection. White blood cells (called polymorphonuclear Leukocytes) immediately travel to the infection within the impacted pore -causing redness, swelling and producing pus - creating the pimple or acne breakout we eventually see at the surface of the skin.
Brazilian Beauty Are The Professionals When It Comes To Acne
If you suffer from breakouts or suspect you have acne-prone skin but are not completely sure, simply book a complimentary consultation at one of our 9 South East Queensland locations to get started. Our friendly team of experienced Dermal Therapists will assess your skin and talk to you about all your treatment options.
You can also download the Brazilian Beauty App and instantly earn $20.00 in loyalty points to use towards your skin treatment or ASI product purchase the next time you visit a Brazilian Beauty clinic.