Acne is related to your skin's normal cellular replacement process. An average skin cell lives from 2-4 weeks, with your body constantly creating new cells to replace those that die. When a skin cell dies, ordinarily it rises to the surface of your skin and sheds off.
Your body also produces oil called "sebum" to prevent your skin from drying. If your skin produces excessive sebum, it can make dead skin cells settle in your pores and clump together rather than rise to the surface. This sticky clump of dead cells can create a clog in the affected pore(s) that results in the whiteheads, pimples, blackheads, and other skin blemishes associated with acne.
Bacteria that typically live on your skin's surface (p. acnes) can also become trapped inside the clogged pore. This provides these bacteria the perfect environment to multiply very quickly. As the bacteria fill the pore, it becomes inflamed, red, and swollen. Cystic or nodular acne occurs when the inflammation and resulting infection travels deep into your skin.
Acne is most common during the teen and young adult years when your body is experiencing hormonal fluctuations that can, among other things, cause an overproduction of sebum. But anyone can experience acne, including children and middle-aged adults.
Women may experience bouts of acne during monthly menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. It’s also linked to the hormonal imbalances associated with medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some skin care products also increase your chance of developing acne, which can affect women and men of any age.
Contrary to often popular belief, acne is not something you have to simply “get through.” Effective treatment can help reduce the risk of pigment changes and scars caused by moderate to severe acne outbreaks.
Depending on the type and underlying cause of the acne, your custom treatment plan may include: