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What causes acne?

Acne occurs when the hair follicle pores become blocked. The oil called sebum builds up inside the pore and becomes infected with bacteria. When the infection remains under the skin surface, it develops into a whitehead. When the infection partly reaches the surface and changes color, it develops into a blackhead.

Shouldn't I just try to eliminate sebum from my body?

No. When it isn't blocked in your pores, sebum helps keep your skin healthy.

Why does acne usually start at puberty?

No one knows for certain. What is known is that the sebaceous glands that produce sebum get much larger at puberty than they were before.

Why does the skin around a pimple turn red?

This redness is caused by the body's inflammatory response. Inflammation is a sign that your immune system is working to fight an infection. However, the inflammatory response doesn't always work perfectly, and can even be the cause of scarring.

If my skin turns red, does that mean that I'm going to have scars?

Usually, no. Even when there will be no permanent scar, the aftereffects of the inflammatory response can leave the skin red for months, sometimes for more than a year.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are byproducts of oxidation in your body. We all need oxidation to occur as part of our life process, but there is concern that the buildup of unrecycled free radicals contributes to many conditions, including skin damage.

 

Source: J. Ratliff

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