Understanding Acne

In a person’s journey into adulthood, there’s always a few bumps along the way, and by bumps I’m referring to a common skin condition known to most of us as acne.

For some of us we’ll only deal with these bumps until we’re 19 or 20 years-old, but for others battling acne will be a life long fight.

But how does acne form in the first place?

Dr. Diana Howard, vice president of research & development, Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute writes, “Dermatologists and skin therapists alike have studied all possibilities, from diet to skin type to stress, and everything in between.”

What experts have determined is there are two main factors that contribute to acne.

Skin Glands and Oil

Inside everyone’s skin are small, microscopic glands that are know as sebaceous glands. These glands are found all over the body with the exception of two places, the bottoms of your feet and the palms of your hands.

The reason we have these glands is to produce an oily substance known as sebum, which moisturizes, waterproofs and protects our skin.

Sebaceous glands are found in abundance on our face. Because we have more glands in this area, our face tends to be oilier than the rest of our body.

Experts know that oily skin is a catalyst to acne breakouts because the oil can get into skin pores, enlarge them and cause congestion in a person’s follicles. This is most commonly seen in a person’s “T Zone” – the area of a person’s forehead and nose.

Because of teenager’s increased hormone levels, often we seen a person’s oil production reach it’s peak during their teenage years because sebum production is at its peak when a person goes through puberty.

Shedding Skin Cells & Bacteria

Think of your skin as a production line-type of conveyer belt.

Skin cells are born at the base of the follicle, they serve their purpose and they eventually die off and are pushed to the surface of the skin to be washed away while new skin cells take their place.

In healthy skin everything flows smoothly during this process.

But when your have acne, often what happens is the dead skin cells get stuck on their journey to the surface.

Once stuck, the dead skin cells form a plug, which when combined with oil becomes a breading ground for bacteria. This melting pot of bacteria will eventually grow because oil is a great food source for bacteria.  

As the bacteria grows underneath the skin red bumps or “whiteheads” will form. The longer they go untreated, usually the bigger the bump gets.


For a full skincare line to treat acne or to speak with a skin care expert, visit Dermalogica.

Got a beauty or skin care question for us? Email us at info@Alturaaesthetics.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in a future blog.