What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition characterised by blocked pores, spots, pimples, or cysts on the skin, often appearing on the face, back, or chest. It affects an estimated 80% of the population between the ages of 11 and 30. Acne occurs when your skin pores become blocked by dead skin cells, dirt, or bacteria. Recent studies have shown that Mānuka oil is more effective at inhibiting the replication of MRSA bacteria (occasionally associated with certain types of acne) than common tea tree oil.
During puberty, the intensity of acne symptoms can vary from person to person. There are various forms of acne, ranging from the most common to the more serious types, such as severe nodulocystic acne:
- Acne vulgaris
- Conglobate Acne
- Acne mechanica
- Acne fulminans
- Pyoderma faciale
- Gram negative folliculitis
To discuss acne, we need to understand three factors: the sebaceous glands, hormones, and bacteria. The sebaceous glands are small glands that sit beneath the outer layer of your skin, usually attached to a hair follicle. They produce a greasy mixture of fats called as sebum oil. This oil is crucial for maintaining smooth and elasticated skin. It is normally secreted onto the surface of your epidermis through tiny pores in your skin.
What are the symptoms Acne?
Acne can be considered a chronic skin condition, although it usually only affects individuals at specific points in their lives, such as during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. The symptoms are extremely well known, so it is not normally misdiagnosed.
In mild cases of acne, like acne vulgaris, pimples and blackheads are common and can be easier to treated using conventional and natural solutions like Mānuka oil. However, in more severe episodes of acne, the symptoms can become more inflamed and pronounced, leading to the development of nodules and cysts that may require additional care.
If you feel that your acne symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to consult your doctor. You might be suffering from a more severe variant of the condition, such as Pyoderma faciale acne or severe nodulocystic acne.
What causes Acne?
An acne breakout usually occurs when these tiny pores become clogged with dead skin cells, sebum oil, and bacteria. As a result, you will start to notice the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne symptoms.
When you experience a surge in hormone levels – think puberty – it can cause an increase in sebum oil production. This is why your skin often feels greasy and makes your pores more susceptible to clogging. However, hormones are not the sole culprit when it comes to stimulating the sebaceous glands. Other factors such as diet, stress, liver function, and insulin can also contribute to triggering an acne outbreak.
Male hormones, particularly androgens like testosterone, can stimulate the sebaceous glands and cause them to overproduce sebum. Both men and women need testosterone, but women tend to require smaller amounts than men. This is why women may experience acne episodes during pregnancy or their menstrual periods. Hormone levels fluctuate during these times, and increased levels of male hormones may inspire acne symptoms.
If your pancreas is producing excessive testosterone, it may be expelled from your body through the skin, resulting in an acne outbreak. Puberty or your menstrual cycle are not solely responsible for the excess androgens. Blood sugar levels can also influence hormone levels, so it's important to consider certain aspects of your diet and lifestyle as well.
The most common bacteria associated with acne is Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. This bacterium can survive on your skin, usually inhabiting hair follicles in small amounts, and is normally considered harmless.
When your body starts to produce excessive amounts of sebum oil, it creates an ideal breeding ground for P. acnes, causing its population to swell significantly. When the bacterium becomes trapped in a clogged pore, it can still thrive and continue breaking down skin cells and proteins such as keratin and collagen.
Your immune system may detect the damage caused by P. acnes and release a wave of inflammatory chemicals to fight the outbreak. However, these chemicals can be abrasive towards your skin, causing swelling, redness, and promoting the development of pimples.
What triggers Acne?
While acne symptoms are well-known, there has been considerable debate over the years regarding the various factors that can trigger an outbreak. Here are some common myths associated with acne:
Myth: Poor hygiene. Acne is not caused by poor hygiene or inadequate face washing. There is no evidence supporting this theory. While it is important to keep your skin clean, excessive cleansing can be equally harmful to your symptoms. Over-cleaning can irritate the skin and weaken the epidermis. It is recommended to follow a sensible skincare routine infused with Mānuka oil.
Myth: Acne only affects teenagers. There is significant evidence disproving this theory. While puberty is a time of hormonal changes, acne can occur beyond the teenage years. In fact, it is estimated that over 80% of adult acne cases occur in women. This can be attributed to women's hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives, including menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. These hormonal shifts can irritate the sebaceous glands and trigger acne outbreaks. Mānuka oil infused skin care solutions can help soothe the skin during all these different life stages.
Myth: Squeezing your pimples can help. Many of us have tried desperately to eliminate that persistent pimple by squeezing or popping it. However, popping a pimple may provide momentary satisfaction but does not alleviate symptoms in the long run. In fact, it can cause further skin trauma and trigger the release of more inflammatory chemicals. Using Mānuka oil topically on the pimple spot and incorporating a natural face cleanser and light day cream infused with Mānuka oil can help promote healing and soothe the skin.
Myth: Acne is contagious. While there are plenty of skin conditions that are contagious, acne is definitely not one of them. You can’t "catch" acne through physical or indirect contact.
Acne-prone skin can benefit from the targeted application of Mānuka oil on the pimple spot, along with incorporating a natural Blemish Control Face Wash, and Light Day Cream infused with Mānuka oil. This combination known as our Acne Bundle can help promote healing and soothe the skin. Mānuka oil's properties not only aid in acne healing and drying up blemishes without side effects but also help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria on acne-prone skin. Our Blemish Control Face Wash is pH-perfect as it supports the skin's natural balance of protective oils. Many face washes and cleansers tend to be overly alkaline, which can strip the skin of its acid mantle, further irritating acne-prone skin. By incorporating the Light Day Cream (containing Totarol extract) along with the Blemish Control Face Wash, you can prevent the formation of new pimples.
Depending on the severity of your acne, it may be necessary to consult a healthcare provider or dermatologist for personalised assistance. Acne can have an impact on your confidence, so understanding the triggers and factors that can cause flare-ups is essential.
Read More About Acne and Natural Solutions
Are you struggling with teenager acne, have a bout of hormonal acne, or looking for an effective natural Acne solutions? Click below to explore our dedicated Acne blogs section to find valuable insights and tips to help you navigate through the challenges of acne-prone skin naturally.