A Buildup of Dead Skin

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The skin naturally sheds every 28 days or so. But, in some, excessive amounts of dead skin are created (associated with those who have acne), which is not shed properly or efficiently. “Plus, the interior lining of the hair follicle is comprised of sticky cells that plug it up,” says Greenwich, CT, dermatologist Henry Gasiorowski, MD.  

What causes an overproduction of it: A slower shedding process

How it can cause breakouts: When a buildup of dead skin stays in the pore for too long, and mixes with sebum, a sticky liquid-like substance forms that clogs the opening of the pore. Add bacteria (naturally found in the follicle) to the mix and the combination leads to a pimple. “Gently exfoliating every few days will help remove those dead skin cells,” says Dr. Henry Gasiorowski. “Doing it too vigorously only pushes the bacteria further into the skin, creating breakouts and infections. You’ll also want to use vitamin A topically, which will collapse the sticky cells so not as much plugging can occur.”

The type of acne it typically causes: Most commonly blackheads but also whiteheads, pustules and papules. 

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