A clear understanding of the structure and function of acne prone skin, and how it behaves in a different way from normal skin, is the stepping stone of a proper remedial procedure as well as precautionary measures.
To begin with, one must first know what skin is and its general functions. Skin is basically an outer covering that wraps up our body and works as a safeguard from external harmful agents or microorganisms. It stands as a fence obstructing the entrance of such malicious elements inside our body. It also sustains some vital activities like regulating blood and water equilibrium, controlling body temperature through perspiration and protecting the tissues from external damage.
The skin, in its most significant layer epidermis, holds innumerable sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles. Since this particular layer of skin covers the blood vessels and nerve cells, it is extremely sensitive to pain, irritation, itching, and heat.
The most potent factor which plays behind acne prone skin is seborrhea or excessive production of skin oil or sebum. The sebum production rate is generally controlled by androgens, also known as male sex hormones. Apart from androgen, the rate of sebum production is also influenced greatly by other hormones like thyroxin and growth hormones. However, the role of androgens, in this regard, is far more vital than them.
A counteraction occurs under the influence of female sex hormones or estrogens which reduces the production of sebum. However, the production of male and female sex hormones hole up till puberty. After reaching puberty, these hormones get active and subsequently trigger the sebaceous glands effecting sebum production. This is the reason why this stage is vulnerable for most pubescent people, especially for males, to develop an acne prone skin, marked often with a greasy skin surface and protuberances. However, seborrhea can not be always the sole cause to make one’s skin prone to acne; there are many instances where in spite of seborrhea there is no trace of acne.
Sometimes acne is also caused by the colonization of some kind of bacteria at the pilosebaceous unit. In many instances it is found that such bacteria cluster inside the hair follicle of people having seborrhea. It has been found that such bacteria are capable of breaking down the sebum into free fatty acid which in turn initiates blackhead production if applied even on normal human skin.
Another peculiarity of acne prone skin is the formation of comedones as an outcome of some problem in natural skin exfoliation from the hair follicle linings. The dead cells, unlike their usual nature, cluster together and along with bacteria and sebum, they form a solid mass or comedo. The comedones don’t instantly appear as inflamed lumps; rather they might stay dormant inside the skin for months and even years. Whenever the inflammation occurs, it happens as a natural resistance system of the body in an attempt to destroy the comedones. Thus we see them in their revealed form like pustules, papules or small eruptions.
Characteristically, acne prone skin can be explained with respect to a quick overview of the following traits:
- Presence of blackheads, whiteheads, papules and other skin rashes, skin irritation and inflammation. Their concentration might vary with respect to the distribution area. Some people develop acne mostly on face and for some it is a common problem of the back and/or other body parts.
- There is an overall tendency of the skin rashes to heal themselves up spontaneously. But commonly it is found that a new bunch of rashes appear before a few old ones are cured by this natural healing process. Permanent cure is hardly achievable. But with proper care and medication, it can be controlled to a great extent.
- Hyperpigmentation is very common in such skin type. Even weeks after the blemishes disappear, the color of the affected area remains visibly darker than normal.
- Acne prone skin has been found to have some genetic link, though it is generally activated by hormonal inequity.
- This skin type is highly sensitive to oil based cosmetics and responsive to products containing exfoliating agents. Antiirritant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory products also go well with these skins.
The best approach to deal with acne prone skin is to know well about the nature of one’s own skin, its existing blemishes, and follow careful and personalized preventive methods. Consulting a skilled dermatologist is always suggestible to make the entire matter risk-free.