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Even though acne it seems has been around forever it is still not fully understood in pure scientific and medical terms.

However, we do know some of the biology behind the cause of acne.

Top skin care habits that can worsen acne

The main offender is the excess production of an oily substance called sebum whose function is to keep skin and hair lubricated and supple. The worst part is that during adolescence, the body tends to produce more sebum than is required – hence the oily skin that lots of teenagers are subjected to. The sebum combines with naturally occurring dead skin cells to block hair follicles which in turn prevent the sebum from escaping.

As a consequence the oil becomes blocked up under the skins surface providing an ideal environment for bacteria. As the bacteria multiply the skin area around the blocked pores becomes red and inflamed looking resulting in what we all know as a pimple.

It is known that the excess production of sebum is caused by the male hormone testosterone which is present in both males and females, but during puberty, the body changes the way it reacts to the presence of testosterone.

It is this unusual reaction, normally appearing during adolescence, which causes the skin around the face and upper body to become exceptionally oily. In most cases by the time you reach your early twenties, the body normalizes its reaction to testosterone and the acne condition clears up.

Acne seems to be partly hereditary.

What the experts don’t know yet is exactly why some people are affected by it and others are not. Some of the factors which seem to aggravate the outbreak of acne can be stress, poor diet, skin irritation, some medications and in teenage girls’ hormonal activities such as menstrual cycles.

Medications generally associated with acne conditions would include anabolic steroids used for bodybuilding, lithium, barbiturates, halogens, and androgens.

Why Do I Get Acne?

From the dietary side skim milk products appear to be one of the main offenders. Most people associate foods like chocolate, pizzas and other fast food with pimples. However there is no real statistical evidence that this type of food causes or aggravates acne. But don’t forget – there are many benefits to be had from a well balanced diet.

In recent years scientific attention has been focusing on the possibility that narrowing hair follicles could be at least partially to blame for acne. These narrower than normal hair follicles prevent dead skin cells from being expelled causing an excessive build-up underneath the skin – this combined with sebum promotes the right conditions for acne.

For some reason so many people just love to pop or squeeze their pimples and blackheads – just ask any mother of a teenager – but Mum is right – don’t do it! Popping zits is a good way to spread the bacteria to the surrounding skin area making the condition even worse than it was before. The other thing to remember is that it may also lead to acne scarring which in severe cases can be permanent.

Also, something as simple as just touching the face can make your acne worse. I know it is a difficult habit to overcome as most of us touch our faces repeatedly during the day purely out of habit. The problem here for acne sufferers is that the hands also contain oils and bacteria which will spread the acne. Even using another person’s phone can be a hazard.