How Acne Forms | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale, Phoenix, AZ
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Acne Formation – Understanding Where It Comes From

How Acne Forms | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale, Phoenix, AZ

Acne Formation – Understanding Where It Comes From

Acne forms over the course of several weeks and through a series of very complex events occurring in the skin. A pimple that you see on your chin as if it appeared “overnight,” has in fact been hard at “work” below the surface of your skin for weeks before you even see it.  The entire process of how acne forms is quite involved.

How Acne Begins

Acne begins its life in the hair follicle or pilosebaceous unit. This unit consists of the hair follicle itself and an attached sebaceous gland, which produces sebum or oil.

There are three types of hair follicles: vellus, terminal, and sebaceous. In the first two types of follicles, the hairs (though at different stages of development and appearance) fit tightly into the follicles which is to say that the diameter of the growth channels are the same as the hairs themselves. Because of this very tight fit, there isn’t room for debris or sebum to remain in the follicle and subsequently form a pimple.

But what then happens in the sebaceous follicles?  The hairs in those follicles are small and frail leaving more than enough room for debris and oil to accumulate and get stuck there. These sebaceous follicles are concentrated on the face, neck, shoulders, upper chest, and back- subsequently explaining why these are the areas where people experience the most frequent breakouts. Furthermore, these follicles are largest and most numerous on the face.

What Causes Acne?

The main cause of acne is comedones or blocked pores. The pores or openings that lead down into the Nodular or cystic acne are the most severe types of acne.  It consists of large, painful, and solid acne lesions that are lodged very deep in the skin with only a small opening to the surface of the skin where the follicle exits the skin.  They can feel hard to the touch, and these lesions can last for months leaving behind crater-like scars when they finally heal.

Comedones are formed when something goes wrong with the skin cells lining the follicular channel.  If the skin processes are working normally, then the sebaceous glands are continually expelling dead skin cells or keratinocytes onto the surface of the skin along with the normal flow of sebum.

However, this process can malfunction and two things can happen – the follicle can actually step up its production of keratinocytes thus creating a huge amount of debris or dead skin cells and then secondly, that excess amount of cells stick together much like if they were cement.  So instead of leaving the follicle as they should these dead cells remain where they are and mix together with the sebum already in the follicle.

And there you have it – acne formation.

Severe Acne

Nodular or cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. It consists of large, painful, and solid acne lesions that are lodged very deep in the skin with only a small opening to the surface of the skin where the follicle exits the skin. They can feel hard to the touch, and these lesions can last for months leaving behind crater-like scars when they finally heal.

Now that you have a better understanding of how acne forms you can determine how to treat your acne in a more effective manner. The two keys to treating acne are unclogging pores and killing the acne bacteria. Gentle and regular exfoliation can help unclog your pores, and benzoyl peroxide can kill the acne bacteria.

Spectrum Dermatology can help with your acne in so many professional ways. We have years of expertise in dealing with this frustrating, but the highly treatable issue. Our highly trained professionals determine your personal and unique acne situation and ultimately determine the medications or laser treatments that will result in a clearer complexion with fewer breakouts.

Contact Spectrum Dermatology, and we will provide you with a consultation. Call us at (480) 948-4800. We can help.