M.D. Claiborne & Associates, L.L.C. - Dermatology Specialists
Acne is a disease that affects the oil-producing glands (sebaceous glands) in the skin. The oil these glands make is called sebum. Sebaceous glands produce very little sebum before puberty, but during puberty they start to make larger quantities due to increase of hormones that follows puberty. Sebum normally flows up to the skin surface through hair follicles. Acne occurs when the path of sebum is blocked, usually by dead skin cells mixed with sebum. The hormones that have the greatest effect on the sebaceous glands are the male hormones called androgens. Both women and men carry male hormones, of course, in different quantities.
Your hormones also affect the way your skin grows and sheds dead cells during this time of your life-they can stick together and clog your pores. Sebum builds up in the follicle, becomes infected leading to the basic acne pimple. In some cases, the follicle becomes so full that it bursts (squeezing can also cause the follicle to burst). Inflammation and redness can then spread to surrounding parts of the skin. The result is a large and painful lump under the skin called an acne nodule. Acne nodules often leave scars when they heal.
Contrary to what you may have heard, greasy foods and foods in general do not cause acne, neither does poor hygiene. Scrubbing with cleansers or a harsh cloth is not likely to clear it up and may actually worsen it. Oral antibiotics are typically reserved for moderate to severe cases that involve the formation of nodules. For patients with severe acne, early intervention is key to preventing acne scarring. For this reason, you need to see Dr. Claiborne who will prescribe proper treatment and topical and/or oral medications.