Acne-prone skin | causes, treatment and care

What causes acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that can have several causes. These causes are often linked to hormonal, genetic and environmental factors.

Excessive sebum secretion plays a key role in the development of acne. The oil glands in the skin produce an oily substance called sebum and when this secretion is excessive, it can clog the pores of the skin, creating an environment conducive to the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

Additionally, when dead skin cells build up, they can combine with sebum and clog pores. This creates an environment conducive to the proliferation of Cutibacterium acnes bacteria (formerly called Propionibacterium acnes), which are naturally present on the skin. When these bacteria overgrow in clogged follicles, they trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which can lead to the appearance of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne lesions.

Thus, dead skin cells play a key role in the process of acne formation by contributing to the clogged pores of the skin. For this reason, regular skin exfoliation, which helps remove dead cells from the skin's surface, is often recommended as part of acne treatment to prevent its development.

acne formation

In summary, acne can result from a combination of several factors, including excess sebum secretion, bacterial overgrowth, and clogged pores. Hormonal and genetic factors may also play a role in predisposing to acne.

When it comes to hormonal factors, hormones have a huge impact on acne formation. More specifically, androgens, which are male sex hormones also present in limited quantities in women, influence the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands of the skin. Overproduction of androgens can stimulate these glands, leading to excess sebum secretion. Hormonal fluctuations during periods such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can thus cause acne breakouts due to these hormonal variations.

Hormonal contraceptives are sometimes used to regulate hormones in some people with acne. These contraceptives contain synthetic hormones that help balance hormonal levels and reduce sebum production, helping to alleviate acne symptoms.

When it comes to genetic factors, studies have shown that there is a genetic component to the development of acne. If members of your family have suffered from acne, you may have a genetic predisposition to this skin condition. However, it is important to note that genetics do not necessarily determine this dermatological condition but it can increase your likelihood of suffering from it.

Thus, hormonal and genetic factors interact to influence sebum secretion, bacterial proliferation and skin inflammation, all key elements in the development of acne.

The different types of acne

There are several types of acne, each with its own characteristics and levels of severity. Here are some of the main types of acne:

  • Acne Vulgar

Acne vulgaris is the most common form of acne, affecting millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a variety of skin lesions, including pimples, blackheads (open comedones), whiteheads (closed comedones), pustules (pus-filled pimples), and sometimes cysts. These lesions usually form on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. Comedones are the result of pores clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Pustules form when bacteria overgrow inside clogged pores, causing inflammation.

  • Comedonal Acne

Comedonal acne is a form of acne dominated by comedones, which are non-inflammatory lesions. There are two types of comedones: blackheads (open comedones) and whiteheads (closed comedones). Blackheads are caused by a buildup of sebum and dead skin cells in a clogged pore, which oxidizes on contact with air, turning black. Whiteheads form when oil and dead skin cells block a pore, but the surface remains closed. Although these lesions are not inflammatory, they can develop into pustules or papules in the event of a bacterial infection.

  • Papulo-Pustular Acne

Papulopustular acne is a mild to moderate form of acne characterized by the appearance of swollen red spots (papules) and pustules. Papules are the result of inflammation in clogged pores, while pustules are pus-filled pimples. This form of acne can be itchy and uncomfortable, but it usually does not leave permanent scars and is not considered severe acne.

Papulo-Pustular Acne

  • Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is a serious form of acne that is characterized by deep, painful cysts that form under the skin. These cysts may be tender to the touch and often associated with significant inflammation. Cystic acne can leave permanent scarring if not treated effectively. Due to its severity, it often requires more intensive medical treatment, including topical, oral medications and dermatological interventions.

  • Nodular Acne

Nodular acne appears as nodules, which are hard, painful lesions located under the skin. These nodules can be large and swollen, causing considerable discomfort. Nodular acne is considered a serious form of acne, and it is prone to scarring. Medical intervention is often necessary to effectively treat nodular acne.

  • Acne Conglobata

Acne conglobata is an even more severe form of acne, characterized by the presence of nodules, cysts, abscesses and extensive inflammation. It can be devastating to the skin and can leave deep, permanent scars. Due to its severity, acne conglobata often requires specialized dermatological treatment and strong medications to control it.

Each of these types of acne has specific characteristics and may require a different treatment approach. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of the acne and the patient's individual needs. It is essential to consult a dermatologist to evaluate acne and develop a suitable treatment plan.

What skin types have acne?

Oily skin is often more prone to acne due to its genetic predisposition to overproduction of sebum. The sebaceous glands in the skin, responsible for producing sebum, are particularly active in these people. This overproduction of sebum can therefore clog pores, creating an environment conducive to the formation of pimples and blackheads. These individuals often have acne-prone skin.

However, other skin types are not immune from acne. Combination skin, characterized by an oilier T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and other parts of the face that are drier, can also be prone to acne. The T-zone is particularly prone to breakouts due to overproduction of oil, while drier parts of the face can also develop spots occasionally.

Sensitive skin can also develop acne, although it is often trickier to treat. Harsh acne products can cause skin irritation, making choosing the right products essential to avoid making the problem worse. Topical treatments for acne should be gentle so as not to cause irritation.

When it comes to dry skin, it is not as commonly associated with acne, but it is not completely immune to this skin condition. These people can develop pimples and inflammation, although this is less common than in those with oily skin. Additionally, taking certain medications can sometimes lead to acne breakouts.

So, although acne is more common in people with oily skin, it can affect various skin types and each skin type may need specific treatment approaches for acne, depending on its characteristics and of his sensitivity. It is therefore essential to choose skin care products and treatments suitable for your skin type for effective acne management.

Who is affected by acne?

Acne is not only a concern of adolescents, as it can also affect adult women. The relationship between adult women and acne may be significant for several reasons:

  • Hormonal factors : Hormonal fluctuations play a major role in the development of acne in adult women. Hormonal variations linked to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause and taking hormonal contraceptives can indeed contribute to acne breakouts.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) : Many adult women report worsening acne before or during their period due to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle.
  • Late-life acne : Some women never experienced acne during adolescence but may develop it later in life. This is called late-onset acne, and it can be linked to hormonal, genetic, or environmental factors.
  • Stress : Chronic stress can trigger or worsen acne in adults because it can lead to hormonal imbalances and increased oil production.
  • Use of cosmetic products : Improper cosmetic products and skin care routines can clog pores and contribute to acne in adult women.
  • Genetic factors : A genetic predisposition to acne may also play a role, meaning that if other family members have had acne, an adult woman may be more likely to suffer from it.

It is important to note that acne in adult women may be different from acne in adolescents and may require specific local treatment approaches, including hormonal treatments, topical medications, and tailored skin care. A consultation with a dermatologist can help determine the underlying cause of acne and develop an appropriate effective treatment plan.

Does hygiene play a role in the appearance of acne?

Acne is not exclusively caused by poor hygiene, but poor hygiene can contribute to its development or worsening in some cases.

Indeed, poor hygiene, in particular not cleaning the skin regularly, can lead to the accumulation of sebum and dead cells which will clog the pores, thus promoting the formation of pimples and other acne lesions. It is therefore important to take care of your skin by using suitable cleansers and exfoliants.

Poor hygiene can also contribute to the excessive proliferation of bacteria and the use of harsh products when cleaning can cause irritation, thus worsening acne symptoms.

However, it is essential to note that acne is a multifactorial condition. Having good skin hygiene, including regular and gentle cleansing, is important for maintaining healthy skin, but it does not necessarily guarantee acne prevention, especially in cases where other factors are involved. stake.

What are the ingredients against acne?

When it comes to choosing cosmetic products for acne treatment, it's important to look for specific ingredients that are known to be effective in fighting acne breakouts. Here are some of the commonly used ingredients in skin care products for acne:

  • Salicylic Acid : Salicylic acid is a fat-soluble chemical exfoliant that effectively penetrates the skin's pores. It has the ability to dissolve lipids, making it particularly useful for removing dead skin cells, reducing inflammation and unclogging pores. By removing dead skin cells, it promotes cell turnover, which can help prevent clogged pores and reduce the appearance of pimples.
  • Probiotics : Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria on the skin. They limit the proliferation of the Cutibacterium acnes bacteria responsible for acne. In addition, probiotics strengthen the skin barrier by promoting a balanced skin microbiome. A healthier skin barrier limits transepidermal water loss, which helps keep skin hydrated and prevents irritation.

Probiotic exfoliating cleanser

  • Retinoids : Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, are powerful compounds for treating acne. They work by preventing clogged pores, promoting cell turnover and reducing inflammation. Retinoids help normalize the skin's shedding process, preventing the accumulation of dead cells in hair follicles.
  • Glycolic Acid : Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that gently exfoliates the skin. It promotes cell renewal by removing dead cells from the skin's surface. Additionally, it can reduce the appearance of acne scars by smoothing skin texture. However, it is important to use glycolic acid with caution, as it can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.
  • Niacinamide : Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps reduce inflammation in the skin, which is especially helpful for people with inflammatory acne. Additionally, niacinamide regulates sebum production, which may help reduce skin shine in people with oily skin.
  • Hyaluronic Acid : Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating ingredient that can maintain optimal moisture balance in the skin. Unlike some moisturizers that can clog pores, hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin without causing clogging. This is essential for maintaining balanced skin, as adequate hydration can help regulate sebum production.
  • Tea tree oil : Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria, while soothing skin inflammation. However, it should be used with caution as excessive use may cause skin irritation.

It is important to note that everyone reacts differently to products and ingredients. It is recommended to consult a dermatologist to determine the best cosmetic treatment for your skin type and severity of your acne. Additionally, it is essential to follow product usage instructions and monitor your skin for any adverse reactions. Not overloading the skin by using too many products at once is also important to avoid further irritating the skin.