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Does Oily Skin Cause Acne

Updated on August 9, 2009
Can oily skin cause acne?
Can oily skin cause acne?

Oily Skin = Acne?

The notion that oily skin causes acne has been has been widely accepted for decades. However, few have stopped to truly examine its merit. Those who have come to accept this assumption as fact obviously have a poor understanding of how acne develops. While misunderstandings surrounding just about every facet of acne are prevalent, there is little reason for the misinformed to continue spreading their faulty notions. This hub will cover all accurate and relevant facts relating to this assumption, hopefully illustrating that it is nothing more than a downright falsehood.

How Does Acne Form?

The skin disorder referred to as acne occurs when pores located on the skin become clogged with dead skin cells. These skin cells are typically present on the skin because of an abnormal shedding cycle. When the dead cells happen to locate a pore causing a blockage, they allow sebum to collect inside the pore. At this point. p. acnes bacteria located inside the hair follicle begin to duplicate. The end result is an inflamed lesion on the skin, which is often referred to as a pimple or a zit.

Notice that a number of variables need to be present for acne to form. An absence of dead skin tissue inhibits the development of acne. Multiple variables need to interact with each other before acne actually materializes. It is not caused by a singular factor, as most people are unfortunately led to believe. Further, the role of bacteria is strictly limited up until the pore becomes blocked. This is despite common belief that bacteria is a primary instigator of acne.

How Acne Develops

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Many have arrived at the conclusion that oily skin causes acne because their friends or close family members who have an oily complexion also have acne. Believe it or not, there are millions of people who have oily skin yet no discernible sign of an acne lesion. Although there may exist a correlation between sabaceous gland activity and acne presence, all the evidence contradicts any possibility that oily skin in itself causes acne. If you remember from the overview above, sebum itself has to be disrupted before acne can form. The oily substance does not instigate the formation of acne lesions.

Once the actual pore becomes clogged, oily skin CAN exacerbate the severity of a breakout by facilitating the multiplication of p. acnes bacteria. Hence, this explains why a correlation is present between the two variables. Again, sebum alone can in no way, shape, or form cause breakouts unless an intrusion inhibits it from rising to the surface of the skin to perform its intended function.

When one variable is removed from the mix, acne can never materialize. The only treatment that regulates sebum excretion in the skin is Accutane (Isotretinoin). This drug is derived from Vitamin A, and is designed to halt excretion. It is typically reserved for more severe cases of acne that have been unresponsive to other treatments. Severe acne lesions can only develop when oily skin is present, The sebum feeds the p. acnes bacteria to an overwhelming extent, creating large, inflamed, and painful lesions. After treatment is complete, most report an overall reduction in the oiliness of their skin, and thus less severe breakouts. Despite the negativity often associated with this drug, it still remains one of the most effective combatants against acne.

Reducing Skin Oil Output

If you have acne-prone skin in conjunction with oily skin, it is more likely than not that the latter is aggravating the former. There are some steps you can take to attempt to reduce your skin's excessive oil production. Avoid harsh cleansers and soaps that contain astringents and irritating surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Moisturize your skin on a regular basis - oily skin is generally dry skin trying to combat the dehydration it has been subjected to.

Using tap water to cleanse your skin may also contribute to its oily nature. The public water supply often has drying and irritating ingredients such as chlorine and fluoride. Further, the high mineral content water available to most people in the United States does not work well with cleansing products. Use bottled water to clean your skin and you should see a reduction in oil output.

If your skin shows no sign of improvement with any of these recommendations, and you are struggling with severe acne lesions such as cystic acne, it is strongly recommended that you consult a dermatologist. You may be a good candidate for a course of Accutane. Don't wait and allow your skin's appearance to further deteriorate.

Moisturizing Oily Skin


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      5 years ago

      well written and nicely presented .Thanks for sharing


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