The Secret Life of a Pimple
life of a pimple begins around 2-3 weeks before it appears on the
surface of the skin. It starts in your sebaceous hair follicles, or
- Deep within each follicle, your sebaceous glands work to produce sebum, the oil that keeps your skin moist and supple.
your skin renews itself, old skin cells die and shed. Normally, these
cells shed gradually, making room for fresh new skin cells. But if cells
are shed unevenly, they clump together with the skin’s natural oil to
form a plug within the pore – like a cork in a bottle.
plug, or comedo, traps oil and bacteria inside the follicle and begins
to swell as your skin continues its normal oil production process.
- That’s when your body’s immune system kicks in, producing white blood cells to attack the bacteria - the end result is a pimple.
Causes of Pimples
When it comes to zits, there is no one "cause" but many factors at play which are beyond our control, such as:
- How often you shed skin cells which can change throughout your life.
amount of sebum that your skin produces which is affected by your
hormone balance, which is often in flux — especially for women.
can play a big part in the development and persistence of spots, so
family history can give you a good idea of how likely it is that you
will develop pimples.
The Five Main Causes of Pimples
of these factors can vary dramatically between individuals and while you
can’t control them, understanding these factors can help you find the
most effective solution.
most blemish sufferers, skin problems start at puberty, when the body
begins to produce hormones called androgens. These hormones cause the
sebaceous glands to enlarge, which is a natural part of the body's
development. In blemish
sufferers, however, the sebaceous glands are overstimulated by
androgens, which can sometimes persist well into adulthood. Androgens
are also responsible for flare-ups during the menstrual cycle and, for
some people during pregnancy.
2. Extra sebum
When the sebaceous gland is stimulated by androgens, it produces extra sebum (oil). As
the sebum makes its way up the follicle towards the skin’s surface, it
mixes with common skin bacteria and dead skin cells that have been shed
from the lining of the follicle. While
this process is normal, the presence of extra sebum in the follicle
increases the chances of clogging which can cause pimples.
3. Follicle fallout
skin cells within the follicle usually shed gradually and are dislodged
onto the skin’s surface. In people with overactive sebaceous glands —
(including almost everyone during puberty) — these cells are shed more
this happens, the dead skin cells mix with the excess sebum and form a
plug in the follicle, preventing the skin from finishing its natural
process of renewal.
The bacteria exists in all skin types; it’s part of the skin’s natural sebum maintenance system. Once a
follicle is plugged, however, acne bacteria multiply rapidly, creating
the chemical reaction that results in inflammation in the follicle and
your body comes in contact with unwanted bacteria, it sends an army of
white blood cells to attack the intruders. This process is called
chemotaxis; or, the inflammatory response. This response is what makes pimples red, swollen and painful. The inflammatory response is different for everyone.
What can I do?
there are options! There are many kinds of blemish solutions
available. But first, you need to know the type and severity of your
condition. Pimples vary dramatically from person to person — they can
take many forms, and not every solution will be right for everyone. The
more you know about your specific form of acne, the more likely you are
to find a system that works for you.