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Factors of Acne Formations

Factors of Acne Formations

Acne (acne vulgaris) is the most widespread skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Acne can strike anyone at any age but it is most prevalent among adolescents and young adults. The AAD says 85 percent of teenagers in the United States suffer from acne each year. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says the exact cause of acne remains a mystery but there are a number of factors that appear to contribute to its formation.


According to the NIH, researchers believe that susceptibility to acne may be inherited from your mother or father. Hormonal changes related to puberty, pregnancy or starting or stopping oral contraceptives can also cause acne.

Although stress does not cause acne, the NIH says it can worsen an existing skin condition.

Clogged Hair Follicles

Pimples form (primarily on the face, neck back, chest and shoulders) when hair follicles under your skin become clogged up with dead skin cells and oil according to the NIH. The Mayo Clinic says each follicle is linked to sebaceous glands. These glands emit sebum (oily substance) that lubricates your skin and hair.

Excess Sebum

When your body produces a surplus of sebum and dead skin cells, they join forces to create a soft plug. The NIH says an increase in male sex hormones (androgens) increase in both males and females during puberty. This causes an enlargement of the sebaceous glands and results in an increase in sebum production. The Mayo Clinic says bacteria may also play a role in the increased production of sebum.

Inflamed Hair Follicles

The AAD says inflammation dictates what type of acne develops. Mild inflammation is an indication that sebum flow is blocked near the skin's surface. This causes either a whitehead or blackhead to grow. When blocked hair follicles become infected or inflamed, red spots with a white center develop, resulting in a pimple. A deeper blockage can cause the formation of a pus-filled pimple (pustule) and possibly a painful nodule or cyst.

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