Acne is caused by the oil glands in the skin breaking open. During adolescence, the oil glands in the skin start producing an oily material called sebum; which is discharged under the skin surface. Sometimes the wall of the oil gland breaks and spills the sebum within the skin. The sebum irritates the skin tissues and causes redness and swelling, in other words, a pimple.
Making this more complicated are plugged oil glands. Commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are not caused by dirt. Removing blackheads will prevent pimples. Topical medicines that contain vitamin A products (like Retin-A, Differin, and Tazorac) are agents that are particularly effective in treating whiteheads and blackheads. The medical term for blackheads is open comedones and the medical term for whiteheads is closed comedones. In mild acne, only a few oil glands break open. In severe acne, many break open. How easily oil glands do this seems to be the result of genetics. Acne runs in families. It is impossible to prevent acne, since there is no way to change the way oil glands act in the skin and what the tendency is to form clogged pores.
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