Why Is Oily Skin a Precursor to Acne?

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A major contributor to acne is genetics, which is also the primary reason people are born with overactive sebaceous glands — the breeding grounds for acne. But in addition to oily skin, it takes the right environment for acne to erupt.

“An acne environment is one where there’s an increase in sebum (oil), there’s a presence of bacteria, and generally an increase in androgenic or male hormones that create a hormonal imbalance in women,” said Dr. Peter Pugliese, a physician and president of Peter T. Pugliese and Associates in Pennsylvania. “What happens is the bacteria thrive on the sebum and break it down, which produces fatty acids, which are irritants. They in turn produce an inflammation or little red spot and that turns into a pimple.”

That pimple is really an infection.”Acne is a predisposed disease of the follicle,” explained Christine Heathman, a practicing licensed aesthetician and president of Glymed Plus, a Utah-based skin products distribution company. “It is sebum that fuels the acne flame. And when you’re talking about severe acne, it’s always you need to get the oil under the control.”

That means paying special attention to diet, lifestyle and skin maintenance.

“There have been so many breakthroughs in the industry, your best bet is to go to a reputable aesthetician and have your skin evaluated,” Pugliese said.

“When it comes to aestheticians — and I work with a lot of them — well, you have never met another group of people as hungry for knowledge about skin as they are.”