What causes acne?

Acne is a skin disease whose causes vary greatly from one individual to another, depending on gender, age, lifestyle, environment, etc. Being aware of the different causes of acne helps to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the skin and helps to fight spots more effectively. Conversely, acne spots can rarely be attributed to a single cause. They are generally caused by a combination of endogenous and environmental factors.



"What role do hormones really play in acne?"

Acne is a skin disease dependent on androgenic hormones. These are male sex hormones present in both men and women. At puberty, a spike in androgens stimulates the sebaceous glands, which then start to produce more sebum. After puberty, hormone levels return to normal, but the hormones continue to affect the skin and can cause new flare-ups of spots. This is particularly the case in women whose spot flare-ups are worse at certain moments of their cycle, especially during the days before menstruation. These women suffer from hormonal acne and sometimes have to change their pill to improve the condition of their skin.

"Acne during pregnancy."

During pregnancy, the mother-to-be is often overjoyed at the idea of having a child but sometimes suffers from a number of inconvenient side effects, including acne. Pregnancy acne is due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur at this time. Acne spots set in at the beginning of pregnancy, sometimes later. Be aware that many treatments are not compatible with pregnancy, so it’s best to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

"Acne is excess sebum."

Sebum is an oily substance produced in the sebaceous glands of the skin. Sebum plays a beneficial role for the skin as it is protective and prevents drying out. However, it can also become one of the main causes of acne. When someone develops acne, the sebaceous glands produce too much and/or too viscous sebum. Because of this excess sebum, the skin becomes oily and shiny and the pores dilate, becoming blocked. Acne spots such as blackheads, whiteheads and then red spots appear.

"It all depends on a specific bacteria, Cutibacterium acnes."

Formerly known as Propionibacterium acnes, Cutibacterium acnes is a bacteria usually present in the sebaceous glands of all individuals. It is part of the cutaneous microbiome (i.e. the skin's ecosystem), and contributes to its proper functioning. In the case of acne, the skin microbiome becomes unbalanced, the different varieties of Cutibacterium acnes are more or less well represented and their diversity decreases while other bacteria develop, specifically Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus. An imbalance of the skin microbiome causes inflammatory acne and leads to it becoming chronic. At the same time, Cutibacterium acnes acts on the sebum-producing cells, impacting retentional acne.

"Stay calm with acne!"

Stress has become omnipresent in our daily lives. Whether at school, at home, or in the workplace, many situations generate stress - to a greater or lesser extent depending on the person and how they react to different situations. Stress is now recognized as an aggravating factor in many chronic illnesses, including acne. Stress acne is all too familiar to some patients, but be careful not to blame acne on its psychological causes alone! That said, acne is a visible disease that can cause lasting stress for the sufferer:

  • "How many spots will I see appear today?"
  • "Will this new treatment work?"
  • "When will my acne disappear?"
  • "What’s causing my spots and how can I deal with them?"

People regularly ask themselves these types of questions when they have acne.

If the impact on your quality of life becomes too great, if the look in other people's eyes is too hard to bear and you’re feeling really down, feel free to consult a medical professional to talk about the situation and find solutions.

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