Two Types of Acne
What Is Acne Exactly?
Acne is definitely a four-letter word for people who suffer with it. It is an inherited disorder of the pores – pores that want to sludge up with dead skin cells much like a clogged drain in your sink. Normal pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore. The acne-prone pore sheds up to five layers of dead skin cells per day and the body just can’t keep up. Technically, this is called “retention hyperkeratosis” — a condition where dead skin cells shedd more quickly than the pore can expel them. This forms congestion under the skin which are non-inflamed acne lesions (blackheads and/or whiteheads), and if bacteria is present (which just loves to feed on the dead skin cells and oil), you will get inflamed pimples, pustules and/or cysts.
Two Main Types of Acne
Most people have a combination of the two.
Dead skin cells and oil (plus other debris) form a plug inside the pore. If this plug does not become inflamed, it can become a whitehead — a non-inflamed lesion under the skin, also called a “closed comedone.” This is also called “maturation arrest” acne, as it has not “matured” into a blackhead yet. There is another non-inflamed acne lesion called a blackhead, where the pore remains open, also known as an “open comedone.” In the case of a blackhead, the tip of the plug darkens as it is exposed to oxygen in the environment.
Understanding Non-Inflamed Acne
As the oil and the dead skin cells build up, they put pressure on the cells surrounding the pore. With enough pressure, the sides of the pore rupture and the contents of the pore leak into the surrounding skin. Because this material contains a lot of P. acnes bacteria, the surrounding skin now becomes infected, creating a red bump that we know as a pimple. The medical term for this red bump is an inflammatory papule. This is a pustule which is different from a pimple only in that it contains white blood cells. When the immune system fights off the P. acnes infection the white blood cells, which are soldiers of the immune system — pile up, creating pus in the pore. In addition to papules, nodules can also form. A nodule is a solid dome-shaped lesion that extends below the surface, deep into the layers of the skin. Scarring is common with nodules and can sometimes leave an impaction behind, which can flare again and again. When a group of pustules cluster together under the skin, they form a cyst. An acne cyst can appear similar to a nodule, but is pus-filled, and can have a diameter of 5mm or more across. They are usually very painful and scarring is also common with cysts.
Understanding Inflamed Acne
We Take the Mystery Out of Acne
Acne is a mysterious disorder, but one thing IS for sure – it can be controlled with the right combination of products used in the correct way. Just as in a clogged drain, the pore must be treated with products that unclog it, keep it unclogged and kill the acne bacteria.
E SKIN Forté has a clear-skin system that will have your acne under control in about three-to- four months depending on your type of acne. We combine the power of clinical-grade home-care products that are customized for your type of acne and skin with a series of bi-monthly treatments that facilitate the clearing of your skin.
Factors That Influence Acne
Women have about one-tenth the androgens (“male” hormones including testosterone and DHEA-S) men have, but these androgens contribute to the acne problem. When estrogen levels drop approximately two weeks after menstruation, testosterone, an androgen, stimulates the oil glands. Oil production increases, making an acne flare-up much more likely. So likely, in fact, that over 60% of acne-prone women get premenstrual acne, hormonal acne flares which occur about 7-10 days before their periods.