P Acnes, understanding what is acne and the cause

The correct name for P.Acne is Cutibacterium acnes.

Bacteria that resides on the skin, close to the sebaceous ducts, it is one of the main causes of acne.

What is acne?

The P.acnes bacterium naturally produces an enzyme known as lipases, this enzyme converts triglyceride oil into free fatty acids and glycerol.

As these triglycerides move out of the follicle, towards the surface of the skin, the glycerol is metabolised and the free fatty acids are released.

It is these fatty acids that are responsible for the PH value of the skin acid mantle, which creates the skin barrier function.

The problem is that free fatty acids have both a comedogenic and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, especially if there are too many of them, an active oily skin for instance, is an indicator that more sebum is being produced by the sebaceous glands then is normal.

Should this be the case, it would indicate that a higher than normal amount of free fatty acids are being metabolised within the pores of the skin.

What causes acne?

Acne is due to a combination of factors – the exact mechanisms behind acne are not fully understood.

  • genetics
  • hormones
  • acne bacteria
  • inflammatory mediators
  • occlusion of the hair follicles

Flares ups can be provoked by:

  • polycystic ovary disease
  • lack of internal essential fatty acids
  • drugs: including hormones, steroids anticonvulsants and more
  • occlusive cosmetics that block the pores
  • a diet high in dairy products and high glycaemic foods.
  • a build-up of dead skin cells and bacteria in the pores
  • lack of water and moisture in the epidermis – dehydration is a sign of an oily skin
  • incorrect skincare products that may strip the skin, leading to an overproduction of oil – drying agents used on blemishes are an aggravating factor, Benzoyl Peroxide is one such product that is often recommended for acne, can cause surface dryness, which is a vicious cycle, causing more oiliness. We ideally recommend using a spot treatment directly on the infected area only, such as RESQ anti-blemish complex
  • sebaceous glands can also become blocked due to impaired cellular turnover, this is due to the use of comedogenic materials on the skin. Should an oily skin have an overabundance of free fatty acids, then any make-up that also contains fatty acids will cause more comedones to appear, getting the right balance on the skin is key

What are the clinical features of acne?

Acne is often confined to the face but it may involve neck, chest, and back.

It is characterised by:

  • inflamed pustules and papules
  • open and closed comedones – referred to as blackheads and whiteheads
  • In severe acne – nodules, and pseudocysts
  • Post-inflammatory pigmented scars
  • can also affect your mental state

As we always state, each of us is metabolically different, so what works for one may not work for the next. You need to do your own research on your skin and use an elimination process so that you get to the route of your acne problem.

This article taken from the website science of acne does a really good job of explaining what is acne.

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