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What is acne and how do we get it?

Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. It typically presents as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, or nodules on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Acne can vary in severity, ranging from mild and occasional breakouts to severe and persistent lesions.

The exact cause of acne is multifactorial and can vary from person to person. Here are some common factors that contribute to the development of acne:

Excess oil production: Increased production of oil (sebum) by the sebaceous glands can clog the hair follicles, leading to the formation of acne.

Dead skin cells: Shedding of skin cells is a natural process, but sometimes they can accumulate and mix with oil, causing blockages in the follicles.

Bacteria: The skin is home to a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which can multiply in clogged follicles and contribute to inflammation.

Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions can increase oil production and contribute to the development of acne.

Diet and lifestyle: Although the direct link is still being studied, some evidence suggests that certain dietary factors (e.g., high glycemic index foods) and lifestyle choices (e.g., smoking, stress) may exacerbate acne in some individuals.

Genetics: There is a genetic component to acne, so if your parents had acne, you may have a higher risk of developing it.

It's important to note that acne is not caused by poor hygiene or "dirty" skin, as it is primarily an internal issue related to the skin's natural processes. However, practicing good skincare habits can help manage and prevent acne outbreaks. If you're concerned about acne, it's advisable to consult a dermatologist who can provide personalized advice and treatment options based on the severity of your condition.

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