Countless hours in front of the mirror trying to figure out how to get rid of the pimples and blackheads? Despite your flawless skincare routine, your pores remain prominent and clogged? This is the article that answers the huge question that is: Why has our own skin declared war on our appearance and well-being?
To answer to a question that carries so much frustration and a desire to raise a white flag, we must first understand what acne is and how it forms. Knowing the enemy is the first step to defeating him.
Acne is an inflammatory skin disease that mainly affects teenagers. We would all be more rested if it were just a condition confined to adolescence. But it is not! There are also some cases of acne in adulthood. And, as if the news weren’t bad enough, this is a much more persistent and difficult to treat type of acne.
There are several types of acne. But those that are most common are comedogenic acne and inflammatory acne. Comedogenic acne refers to comedones, which can be closed (whiteheads) or open (blackheads). Inflammatory acne, on the other hand, is characterized by papules and pustules (the very famous and little appreciated pimples).
Comedones appear when sebum (the oily substance responsible for nourishing the skin) attaches to dead skin cells on the surface and inside of the pores, forming a kind of “lid” that blocks them.
Therefore, closed comedones result in whiteheads, while open comedones originate blackheads. This happens because, when open, the comedones are exposed to air and, consequently, they undergo an oxidative process and darken.
In its natural process of cell renewal, the skin tends to break free from dead skin cells. However, if we are dealing with a skin that produces a high amount of sebum, this oiliness of the skin ends up trapping dead skin cells inside the pores, blocking them.
Although they seem harmless, like low rank soldiers in this acne war, comedones create favorable environments to bacterial proliferation and, consequently, pore inflammation. It is inside the comedones that the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria settles, feeding on the sebum, and proliferates. As a result, what was initially a simple comedo turns into a pimple (inflamed).
Pores are small openings on the surface of the skin, which aggregate within them the hair follicle (the root of the hair) and the sebaceous glands (which produce the sebum, mentioned above).
Therefore, these small openings are extremely important so that the hair isn’t trapped under the skin and, at the same time, for the release of sebum to the skin – necessary to keep it hydrated and healthy.
So far, so good. The problem is that, because they’re small openings, the pores are vulnerable to all external and internal aggressors. Pollution, toxins and particles, excess sebum production, emotional stress, hormones… Each one of these factors, or if you’re really really lucky all of them at the same time, can block the pore. When blocked, the pores increase in size, expand and become more visible.
In addition, genetics and aging (thanks to the loss of collagen) can also influence pore size.
Whatever is your stage of acne, treatment should include exfoliating the skin, to remove dead skin cells, and controlling excess oiliness in the skin. With the ultimate goal of extinguishing inflammation and preventing the proliferation of P. acnes bacteria.
Read the article Acne: 5 Essential Tips for Prevention and Treatment!
A key piece of advice that should be included in any article about acne is: Don’t squeeze pimples and blackheads! In addition to risking increased inflammation, it can permanently mark your skin.
Now that you know your enemies well, you’re ready to face them with courage, determination and, above all, patience. This can be a long and time consuming process, so you shouldn’t let yourself get beaten by being tired!