WHAT IS ACNE?

For most people, acne is an inherited condition of the pores. When someone is prone to acne, their pores clog with dead skin cells much faster than normal. Healthy pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore, but acne-prone pores shed up to five layers of dead skin cells per day. The body just can’t keep up with keeping the pore clear. Technically, this is called “retention hyperkeratosis” — dead skin cells shedding more quickly than the pore can expel them.

Normal and Acne Free Pore

FIRST STAGES OF ACNE  - MICROCOMEDONE

As the dead skin cells begin to accumulate inside the pore, the cells become sticky and get stuck inside the pore and form a plug. Medically, this is called a “microcomedone” – essentially the precursor to all acne. As you can see in this picture, there are more dead skin cells shedding inside the pore.

First Stage of Acne - Microcomedone

CLOSED COMEDONE - WHITEHEAD

Hormonal fluctuations trigger more oil production inside the pore. Normally, this isn’t a problem because the dead skin cells don’t get trapped. But with acne prone-skin, when the dead skin cells shed more quickly and form a blockage, the perfect environment for the P. Acnes bacteria is created. The oil is a nutrient for the bacteria, so the bacteria proliferates. So you see, bacteria is not the root cause of acne, it is the effect of too many dead skin cells. This is an important distinction to remember.​

Some people don’t get inflamed lesions, which are often inherited. If the dead skin cells and the oil that form the plug don’t become inflamed, the plug becomes a whitehead–a non-inflamed lesion under the skin, also called a “closed comedone”.

Closed Comedones - Whitehead

INFLAMMATORY PAPULE

As the oil and the dead skin cells build up, they put pressure on the cells surrounding the pore. With enough pressure, the sides of the pore rupture and the contents of the pore leak into the surrounding skin. Because this sebaceous material contains a lot of P. acnes bacteria, the surrounding skin now becomes infected, creating a red bump that we know as a pimple. The medical term for this red bump is an inflammatory papule.

Inflammatory Papule or Pimple

INFLAMMATORY PUSTULE

This next drawing shows a pustule, which is different from a pimple only in that it contains white blood cells. When the immune system fights off the P. acnes infection, white blood cells, which are soldiers of the immune system, pile up and create pus in the pore.

Inflammatory Pustule

NODULE OR CYST 

Now another, deeper inflamed lesion can form called a nodule. It is a solid dome-shaped lesion that extends below the surface, deep into the layers of the skin. Scarring is common with nodules and can sometimes leave an impaction behind, which can flare again and again. When a group of pustules cluster together under the skin, they form a cyst. An acne cyst can appear similar to a nodule, but is pus-filled, and can have a diameter of 5mm or more across. They are usually very painful and scarring is common with cysts.

Normal and Acne Free Pore

CONCLUSION:

So you see, acne is primarily an inherited dead skin cell problem. Most acne, no matter what form it takes, starts with microcomedones. This means the solution lies in products that penetrate the pore and prevent dead skin cells from building up. That’s why your home care routine is so crucial. It’s all about preventing the microcomedones (the beginning of acne) from forming at all.

Do you have acne? We can help...

Book FREE PHONE CONSULTATION with our Acne Specialist

Our Face Reality Acne Specialist will provide personalized advice on products and treatments that are right for you.

Content provided courtesy of Face Reality Acne Clinic

  • Instagram Social Icon
  • FB-EGODERM Facial Spa and Skin Care
  • TW-EGODERM Facial Spa and Skin Care

CONTACT US

EGODERM

8374 Topanga Canyon Blvd #209

Canoga Park, CA 91304

​OPENING HOURS

Mon thru Sat: 11AM - 6PM

Sunday: 12PM - 5PM

Off Hours: By appointment only