The Real Cause of Breakouts

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Acne is a perfect example of chronic systemic inflammation existing on a cellular level. Even though acne breakouts surface on the skin, they are the sign of imbalances deep within the pores. Oil and bacteria can live amicably in the pores, but, when sebum gets trapped and can’t flow out onto the skin’s surface, and it mixes with bacteria inhabiting the follicle, a pimple results. “Basically, acne, and some other skin disorders, is an attempt to heal the skin through an inflammatory response. With continued inflammation, it becomes harder and harder to treat the skin because it becomes more sensitive to products,” says Las Vegas dermatologist Alison Tam, MD. So, if all breakouts are the result of an inflammatory response, why don’t they all heal the same? “Longstanding inflammation in the skin leads to scarring and the tissue being remodeled. When this happens, acne scars, texture changes and hyperpigmentation can occur,” she adds. Plus, the more oil, dead skin and bacteria in the pore, the bigger the infection and the harder the body tries to attack it, making the area more inflamed, which is why superinflamed breakouts tend to scar or become discolored afterwards. To properly treat recurring breakouts, follow a plan of attack that includes lifting away dead skin through exfoliation, killing acne-inducing bacteria and minimizing the amount of oil produced. 

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