An Introduction To The Science Of Acne

by Nathan James - Date: 2007-01-31 - Word Count: 371 Share This!

There are several things that occur in the skin that can lead to acne blemishes. Acne occurs when the pores become blocked. The precise combination of things that can lead to acne are not fully known but there are several factors that can contribute:

- Genetics
- Hormones
- Diet
- Stress

The way your body deals with dead skin cells and outside things like climate or other environmental triggers can also be factors.

The pores become clogged when dead skin cells combine with sebum - a naturally occurring oil in your body. These two things combine to block the pores, rather than allowing the oil to drain through the surface of your skin.

Next, bacteria grows around the clogged pores. This leads to your body's white blood cells attacking the bacteria, fighting to push it out of your body.

This battle generally takes 2 to 3 weeks to play out, and the growths that result are called microcomedones. They ultimately turn into comedones - more commonly known as blemishes, pimples, zits or acne.

There are essentially 4 types of acne:

- Blackheads
- Whiteheads
- Nodules
- Pimples

Whiteheads occur when the sebum and bacteria are trapped under the surface of the skin. Blackheads occur when the bacteria and sebum are only partially trapped, but can slowly drain out the skin's surface. They turn black because of the pigmentation of your skin. Pimples are generally blemishes without the obvious white or black head. Nodules are the deeper lesions that occur in more severe cases of acne.

Any of these forms of acne can have varying degrees of severity. Mild cases of acne are usually accompanied by whiteheads and/or blackheads, sometimes pimples.

Moderate cases of acne there are more pimples visible on the face and they often occur on the back or chest as well.

In severe cases, nodules can develop which are often sore and can be quite large. They can appear on the face, back, chest and other parts of the body.

Severe cases of acne can ultimately lead to scarring, although it is also possible with moderate cases as well.

In general, males often deal with more severe cases of acne than females because of their hormonal balance. And as a result, they often break out in areas that are more difficult to treat - the back and the chest.

Related Tags: adult acne, teenage acne, acne skin care, causes of acne, best acne treatments, acne control

Nathan James offers advice about the best acne treatments on the Acne Squad website. For more helpful tips and information and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit

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