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A pimple is the result of skin inflammation basically due to the accumulation of bacteria and other possible irritants within the skin thereby blocking the pore. The appearance may range from a tiny bump to fairly huge pus-filled formations depending on the severity and type. Knowing the course of development will greatly help in finding effective cures and remedies.

Getting to Know the Skin

Pimples or acne basically affects the skin particularly the sebaceous glands. The development is a process that starts at the cellular level as a pore or hair follicle becomes blocked by a variety of components like dirt or cells. The epidermis is the outermost area of the skin which is composed of five layers. The dermis is the innermost area of the skin composed of two layers. The hair follicle is a tubular opening wherein hair and sebum are found leading towards the surface. This is also where the sebaceous duct and glands are found.

Hair follicles normally secrete sebum or oil while dead cells also move upward to the surface through the pores. Acne problems begin when the sebum or dead skin cells become trapped then block the follicle. The blockage is referred to as a comedo which appears as a bump or blackhead on the topmost part. The blockage also induces bacterial proliferation because of its creation of an anaerobic environment. More sebum, dead cells and bacteria may continue to accumulate in the follicle causing it to swell more. The wall may rupture then spill into the dermis so white blood cells rush into the area to prevent infection. Pus forms as a result creating a pimple.

The True Cause

There is no definite cause of acne although dermatologists have come up with a variety of related factors. Hormones can have a major role in the formation of zits in young skin such as in the case of individuals undergoing puberty or pregnant women. Some people taking hormonal drugs and medications are also prone to acne development due to the drastic change in hormone activity. Genetics may also be contributory since some may be more prone or more allergic to irritants than others. Experts have refuted the association of food with skin breakouts but there are several factors that can truly lead to unwanted pimples like stress, dirt and pollutants and direct skin pressure and irritation.

Experts Take

Experts refer to acne as a skin disorder stemming from plugged pores on the skin. Pilosebaceous units which are composed of hair follicles and sebaceous glands in the dermis are where acne lesions originate. These units are located throughout the human body except in the palms of the hand and soles of the feet which explains why these areas are free of body hair, oil glands and acne. Primarily, acne starts to develop through the obstruction of the pilosebaceous canal.

The pilosebaceous canal becomes blocked due to different reasons. First would be overproduction and accumulation of sebum which then clogs pilosebaceous canal. Hormonal changes can significantly change sebum production specifically androgens or male hormones.

Excess production of sebum will also lead to overproduction of the follicle wall cell lining. The canal will then be plugged by extra sebum and dead cells. Later on, Proprionibacterium acnes or the bacteria found on the surface of the skin starts to invade the blocked ducts triggering the white blood cells to rush and fight the infection. Inflammation and pus form as a result of the interaction.

Pace of Development

On most occasions, it takes around 2 to 3 weeks before acne becomes evident on the skin surface since its first development in the follicle. The appearance would be a blemish in the sebaceous follicle wherein sebum combines with old cells and is excreted through the pores or old cells die for new cells to be created. Acne or pimples may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. A comedo is non-inflammatory acne. If the comedo's pore is closed and the plug stays within the skin, it is referred to as a whitehead which looks like a small pale bump. Open comedo pores with the plug pushing through the surface is referred to as a blackhead. Inflammatory acne can take on many forms including some in very severe conditions such as cysts and pustules.

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Understanding the Nature of the Pimple