Acne vulgaris is a skin disorder that affects
the oil glands in the skin. Sebum is a substance produced by the
sebaceous gland or the oil gland which is a part of the philobaceous unit – the unit which falls prey to the bacteria
that cause acne. Sebum clogs up skin pores and makes them
susceptible to bacteria.
Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that is a normal inhabitant
of our skin is the primary cause of acne. The normal reaction
of the body to the presence of bacteria is to send an army of
white blood cells to the affected area. In the war between the
white blood cells and Propionibacterium acnes an enzyme is
produced. This enzyme damages the walls of the follicle and all
the irritants present in the affected follicle pour into the
dermis. As a result there is a certain amount of inflammation
which we commonly refer to as pimples or zits.
During the teenage years the body experiences a surge in hormone
production. These hormonal changes result in increased
production of sebum. But not all teenagers fall prey to acne.
The reason given for this is heredity. Children whose parents
have suffered from acne are sure to get it. The use of certain
medicines also causes acne for some. The cause here is not the
medicine involved but the reaction produced within the body.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also bring on
acne in any of its forms. Acne attacks are also seen in women
who use birth control pills. Acne is usually seen in such women
either when they start or stop taking birth control pills as
that is when a hormonal imbalance occurs. Excessive use of
greasy makeup is also suspected to be a cause of acne. This is
because the grease clogs up the pores of the philobaceous unit
and the acne causing bacteria get the right conditions to