During the early teen years, boys and girls are at greater risk for acne breakouts, when the oil glands in the body start over-producing sebum (skin oil that can resemble grease). Adding to the problem, your body sheds dead skin cells constantly – and some people have “sticky” skin cells that don’t shed normally – they just remain attached to the skin. In people who have acne, these excess skin cells mixes with the oil and plug up the hair follicles.
The Common Myths
Quite a few myths are floating around out there about what causes acne. Let’s straighten some out right now.
– Dirt does not cause acne
– A blackhead may look like dirt plugging one of your pores, but that is not the cause.
– The sebum and skin cells mix together and sometimes rise to the opening of the pore. But the real cause is still deep inside the pore.
– Enjoy your chocolate and French fries. Indulging in these favorites does not increase the production of sebum in the skin.
– Some of you may have been told that sexual activity or masturbation can cause acne. Not true.
Who Gets More Acne?
While both boys and girls can get acne – it’s more likely to be worse in boys because their bodies produce more skin oils.
Strangely enough, your immune system can come into play as well – making you extra sensitive to the bacteria that get trapped in the hair follicles.
What Makes Acne Worse?
– If you use makeup, suntan products or hair products that contain oil – they can add to the pore-plugging problem.
– Being under stress – like applying to schools, or struggling with grades, or even dating pressures – can help bring out acne.
– During a girl’s period, hormone levels may create more sebum in the skin, which can worsen the breakouts.
– And, beware of the sun – not only can it damage your skin and cause premature aging – it can also cause pimples.
While keeping your skin clean is an important part of treatment, remember to be gentle – no hard scrubbing, no picking or squeezing. You can survive acne.