What exactly are the connections between acne and skin oil? In fact, there are several ways that skin oil relates to the way your skin looks and how healthy it is. May people may think that people with acne simply have oily skin and do not ‘try’ hard enough by washing their face regularly and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are preconceptions that those with acne have lower hygienic standards than those with clearer skin.

These preconceived notions are not necessarily the truth. While poor hygiene can make acne breakouts worse, the breakouts will still be there, because poor hygiene is not the root cause of acne itself.

Let’s look at some of the roles that oil can play in relation to complexion and acne.

Oil Origins

Where does oil come from? Oil on the skin is a natural and important part of keeping the skin healthy. The skin, or dermis, is actually an organ: the largest organ in the body, in fact. It has a whole system of functions and behaviors. The skin absorbs vitamins from the sun (healthy in moderation, of course), releases sweat to help control body temperature, and of course protects everything inside the body from everything outside the body.

Oil is part of how the skin maintains hydration. It needs to stay hydrated in order to be flexible and pliable. (For example: dry skin cracks easily.) Oil production is monitored and controlled by certain glands, which send out hormones that trigger oil production. This is why adolescents deal with acne more often than adults: because they are going through puberty and their hormones are in flux.

Oil: The Clogging Agent

Oil starts to become a problem when it begins clogging pores in the face (and other parts of the body, but acne is most common on the forehead, chin, nose, and cheeks). When oil builds up (or even if it’s not built up very much at all), it can get into the pores on the face and cause them to clog and become inflamed or infected. These are the acne blemishes we see.

Oil: Food For Bacteria

The other way oil contributes to acne is by ‘feeding’ the bacteria that causes infection. Some bacteria always lives on the skin; the face gets extra oily, which gives the bacteria more food and allows it to spread. The oil can also carry bacteria into the pores, which is what causes them to become infected.

Controlling Oil

There is not a lot you can do to control the production of skin oils. Try to maintain a stress-free lifestyle (as stress can increase hormonal production). Keep your face clean (without over-washing) to avoid letting oil build up over time. If your oil is particularly bad, see a dermatologist for the possibility of a prescription that will help regular your hormone production.

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