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Acne & Black Head Causes

Acne & Black Head Causes Acne & Black Head Causes Acne & Black Head Causes

Acne proves a common skin problem that most people will experience at some point in their lives, especially between the ages of 11 and 18 during puberty, according to the National Institute of Health. Acne can come in several forms starting with mild blackheads and whiteheads, to more serious acne cysts and nodules. The development of each form of acne results from four major factors.

Dead Skin Cells

One of the first contributing factors to blackheads and other forms of acne include the skin cells that your body naturally sheds. Your body consistently grows new skin cells and sloughs off (shed) old ones. When excess skin cells remain on the surface of the skin or in skin follicles, they can combine with other factors to form plugs called a comedone. A blackhead is a form of comedone.

Skin Oil

The second major contributing factor to comedone formation includes the body's natural skin oil, called sebum. Small glands in your skin tissue called the sebaceous glands produce sebum. Sebum proves important oil that helps protect your skin from moisture loss. When excess oil exists on the skin, it can combine with sloughed skin cells to form a comedone.

P. Acnes Bacteria

Bacteria, known as Propionibacteriaum acnes, or P. acnes, can also contribute to acne and blackheads. P. acnes can regularly occur on the skin. When the conditions inside your pores are right, including the right pH level, oxygen level and food supply, the bacteria can become more active, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society. The additional activity of the bacteria can contribute to mild blackheads or whiteheads progressing into more serious cases of acne, such as pustules or cysts.


When P. acnes bacteria breaks the walls of the acne lesion and flows into surrounding skin, the body responds by dispatching large amounts of white blood cells to the affected area. White blood cells are an integral part of your body's immune system used to fight off the bacteria. As white blood cells accumulate pus forms and inflammation occurs around the acne lesion. As inflammation builds, pressure also builds behind the lesion creating acne cysts and nodules. If left untreated, the lesion can burst, resulting in acne scar tissue.

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