Understanding Acne Formation – Sebum

Acne is not a simple skin condition. Acne is complicated, and there can be so many reasons why our skin may be breaking out. In previous blogs we talked about different types of acne, acne-prone skin, and hormonal acne. But there is one factor that all of these cases have in common, and that is an overproduction of sebum. So let’s talk about acne formation and how sebum contributes.

Greasy Skin – Sebum

Sebum is a natural oily, waxy substance produced by oil glands in our skin, which functions to moisturize and lubricate our skin and hair. Sebum also has weak antibacterial properties that protect our skin, the body’s largest organ, from some bacteria and fungi. It is essential for the normal functioning of our skin. In normal amounts it’s good stuff!

But what happens when our skin goes nuts and starts producing too much of a good thing? The overproduction of sebum plays a vital role in the formation of acne. When your skin starts to produce too much sebum, the combination of dead skin cells and sebum starts to build up and clog your hair follicles. This becomes a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria and can easily result in nasty inflammations.

The Skin’s Layers

Our skin is made up of three main layers. The subcutaneous tissue is the deepest layer, containing our blood vessels and nerves. Next comes the dermis layer, which contains our sweat and oil glands, connective tissue and hair follicles. Finally the outermost layer is called the epidermis.

The epidermis is actually made up of five separate layers, and each of those layers is in a constant process of renewing themselves, pushing dead cells to the surface. The outermost of those layers is called the stratum corneum. This layer is the first barrier between you and your external environment and it is actually made of flat, dead keratinocytes, which shed. The dead cells break away and make room for newer cells growing up from below. We are kind of like snakes!

But those dead skin cells need to make a clean getaway. When they remain attached to our face and our skin produces too much sebum, this mix can seep into the deeper layers and clog up the hair follicles. Add to that the P. acnes bacteria, and it’s an acne time-bomb waiting to happen.

How to regulate the sebum production?

  Hormones, genetics, injuries, medication, environmental conditions, stress, anxiety, diet and many other factors can be a reason for the overproduction of sebum.

We don’t believe that any skincare routine can cure the internal reasons for the overproduction of sebum, but we can remove the dead skin cells from the acne equation. The best way to do that is with acid exfoliation. The right skincare can help us keep our skin balanced and keep our pores unclogged. Clear and glowing skin is often a result of hard work and diligence!

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