Very short answer: Acne is caused by clogged pores, which can get infected.
Some more details:
The sebaceous glands just under the surface of your skin produce oily stuff called sebum.
Sebum is in fact supposed to help keep your skin clean. It carries dead skin cells up through small canals – called follicles – to 'eject' that unwanted material on the skin's surface.
Your sebaceous glands grow and become active during adolescence. (That's one reason you had such awesome skin as a baby, and then it suddenly turned into your worst enemy when you hit the early teen years.)
Anyway sometimes a follicle gets blocked by dirt or dead skin. Sebum builds up underneath. Certain bacteria trapped in the plug start to cause infection. The infection causes redness and swelling. Congratulations: You've got acne. (We've all been there. See what Cor customers say about fighting acne.)
Is this post helpful? Find out much more about acne, blemishes and how to keep your face healthy – check out our amazing Ultimate Skincare FAQ!
Dana from Greenbrae CA shared this note with us from her niece Anna. Anna is a 12 year old and a cheerleader who was having some issues with acne until Aunt Dana bought her some COR..this is the cute note Anna sent to her aunt...
You'll see the word noncomedogenic on lots of makeup and skincare product labels these days. What does it mean?
Noncomedogenic refers to products that don't tend to block the pores of your skin.
A 'comedo' is a type of blemish resulting from a blocked pore – according to the American Academy of Dermatologists, a comedo is a very mild form of acne.
So that's how we get to the word 'noncomedogenic'.
So far, so simple, right? What's not so simple is that the use of this term is not regulated by the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) or anyone else in the U.S. There are no specific requirements that a product has to meet in order to be labeled as noncomedogenic.
For most cosmetics and skincare products, the word indicates that the product does not include oil. Your skin already produces oil on its own – sebum is the name of an oil naturally produced by our sebaceous glands – and excessive oil is one of the main contributors to blemishes and acne.
Is it important and valuable for a skin product to not block up your pores? Yes, of course.
But is the term noncomedogenic any sort of guarantee? No, unfortunately it is not. Especially if your skin is prone to acne or other breakouts, it's worth checking the ingredients list of any product you're going to use on your face.
In addition to oils, WebMD.com has a list of other ingredients that DO have a tendency to block skin pores – so these are ingredients to avoid:
- isopropyl palmitate
- isopropyl myristate
- butyl stearate
- isopropyl isostearate
- decyl oleate
- isostearyl neopentanoate
- isocetyl stearate
- myristle myristate
- cocoa butter
- acetylated lanolin
- and D & C red dyes
We guess those ingredients are "comedogenic"!
(WebMD articles are formally reviewed by doctors for accuracy.)
Here's an oh-so-simple tip to help you put your best face forward:
Make cleaning your face a separate process from your shower or bath. You will use different soap or cleaning products in the shower, and the skin on your face is more sensitive and delicate than on most of your body.
See "How to clean your face" for our simple step-by-step guide to caring for your skin.
Got another tip for clean and healthy skin? Send us a note!