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Acne;Hereditary Causes and Cures

Updated on March 3, 2013

Grade 3 Acne

What is Acne?

Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the oil glands characterized by pimples and blemishes and is considered a hereditary trait, that is triggered by hormonal changes that begin during puberty, and continue into adulthood.

Primary Causes of Acne

  • Heredity/genetics
  • Clogged pores
  • Bacteria
  • Triggers including hormones, stress, cosmetics, skin care products, and foods.

Clogged Pores

The technical reason for clogged pores is usually Retention hyperkeratosis. This is a heredity factor in which dead skin cells do not shed from the follicles as they do on "normal" skin. They remain attached to the top layer of the skin where oil can bacteria can attach to the dead skill cells. Combined with the dead skin cells trapping debris, production of excessive oil can over tax the oil follicles and cause further cell buildup. Oil combined with dead cells in the follicle become white heads.


When oil blocks follicles and dead skin cells buildup, oxygen cannot reach the bottom of the follicle (and follicles need oxygen), the result is bacteria proliferation. Oil can irritate follicles and cause inflammation. You can see that its a chain reaction, as bacteria and inflammation grow, pressure is exerted on the follicle wall, and If the wall ruptures, it becomes infected. Redness and inflammation occur when a foreign object is detected in the skin and white blood cells move in to fight the infection.

Acne Triggers

Hormones, stress, sun, skin products, and certain foods may aggravate acne.

Male hormones, androgens, stimulate oil glands, and high levels of testosterone cause increase in oil production. These hormones increase during puberty, when teen acne is first evident. Acne in females is less severe because there is significanly less testosterone production.

Stress & Acne

Stress causes hormonal fluctuations and increased oil pruduction. The adrenal glands respond to stress and secrete adrenalin, which helps cope with stressful events. The male hormone androgen is also produced by the adrenal gland and stimulates the oil gland.

Products for Acne Prone Skin

Certain ingredients in products can aggravate acne. Fatty ingredients such as waxes and oils can clog pores or irritate follicles. These ingredients can also cause cells to build up. Products with rich emollients that clog pores and result in acne production and should be avoided.

There are a number of natural products that may be used in a facial depending on the skin type.

A broad range of products are useful in treating acne. Your choice of product may depend on a skin analysis or preferences.

Some common products are

  • Vitamin A: triggers the production of new skin cells
  • Vitamin C: promotes the healing of damaged skin
  • Benzoyl peroxide: kills bacteria on the skin
  • Zinc and B-complex vitamins: aids cell and tissue repair and reduces inflammation
  • Glycolic acid: helps to remove dead skin cells

In addition to these products, you may use an oxygen mask to dilate pores for easy extraction or a sulfur mask to exfoliate the skin.

Foods to Avoid with Acne Prone Skin

Excessive salt, MSG, kelp, cheese, processed and packaged foods can irritate acne. The excess iodides are excreted through pores.

Other Irritations that can add to Acne Flare ups

Dirty pillows or makeup brushes and exposure to heat can also cause skin problems.

Common Medications and Treatments

Side Effects
Tretinoin (Retin-A)
Topical vitamin A acid. A strong peeling that flushes follicles
Redness and irritation
Topical antibiotic. Kills bacteria
Very drying
An oral medication similar to Retin A
Severe dryiness, depression and birthdefects

Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels are a great way to treat acne provided that the patient is mature enough to start wearing sunscreen as a major side affect of chemical peels is photo sensitivity.

Peels actually change the structure of the top layer of skin, so that if you have skin that holds onto dead skin cells, with enough peels, your skin will start shedding the top layer as it should.

Grades of Acne

  • Grade 1: the least sever form of acne. An individual suffering from Grade 1 acne will have open blackheads (comedones), as well as occasional papules and pustules.
  • Grade 2: there may be many closed and open comedones, papules, and pustules. A comedone is a collection of hardened sebum or oil and skin cells that are concentrated around a hair follicle.
  • Grade 3: the individual will suffer all of the problems associated with Grade 2 acne, plus he or she will generally have read and inflamed skin.
  • Grade 4: the most severe form of acne. Acne of this severity is often referred to as scystic acne because the individual will develop cysts of comedones, paules, and pustules. This kind of acne can be so severe that it leaves permanent scars on the skin.


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