Initial phase of acne formation starts with oxidation of sebum – study finds.
Though the cure for the painstakingly problematic skin condition that is acne has eluded scientists for many years, recent studies on the role played by oxidative stress as well as the antioxidant defense in the acne disease revives new hope for people suffering from it.
Due to the higher oxidative stress that acne sufferers experience more than healthy-skinned people, their antioxidant levels get easily depleted. If inflammation and antioxidant exhaustion can be managed, it is much relief for people suffering from acne.
The Role Inflammation Plays in Acne Formation
According to the latest research, local and systematic stress may be playing a bigger role in the development of acne than previously thought. All along, it was thought that P. Acnes bacteria initiates the process of acne formation, but scientists now believe that the bacteria come into the process at a later stage.
To set the stage for acne formation, sebum is oxidized in a process called sebum peroxidation. Oxidative damage that is caused to sebum by free radicals lowers the amounts of oxygen in it.
Being anaerobic bacteria, P. acnes thrive in environments with low oxygen content. Oxidation of sebum therefore transforms it into a more appropriate environment for the bacteria. When they multiply in the skin pores, their own inflammatory insult is added on the skin.
However, the early sebum oxidation is the initial trigger for the process of acne formation.
Low Levels of Antioxidants in Acne Sufferers
Compared to healthy-skinned people, the levels of a number of antioxidant markers in acne patients have been found to be significantly reduced. Levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood are also higher. They are therefore under significantly higher systematic inflammation and oxidative stress, making their antioxidant defense to be under so much pressure from this load.
People with Acne Need More Antioxidants
Scientists believe that higher levels of sebum in the skin could be one of the reasons why acne patients are suffering under such high levels of systemic oxidative stress.
With the kind of exposure that the human skin and sebum constantly have from oxidative stress like the sun’s UV radiation, the ozone in smog and chemicals in skincare products, antioxidant protection becomes very vital. Additionally, acne sufferers normally produce higher amounts of sebum than healthy-skinned people, placing extra demand for antioxidants in the skin.
Managing Inflammation is Key to Clear Skin
One of the surest ways of managing acne is by lowering your skin’s systemic and local oxidative stress. Vitamin E is a major player in this due to its excellent antioxidant properties. It is capable of protecting sebum from being damaged through oxidation.
Therefore, light supplementation with Vitamin E, as well as its topical application, should be a must for people suffering from this frustrating skin condition.
The process of acne formation is trigger by oxidative damage to sebum since the oxidative process leads to transformations in the sebum that turns it into a more appropriate environment for the thriving of the P. acnes bacteria in the hair follicles, further heightening inflammatory damage. Subsequently, angry red acne pimples start popping up on the skin.
Due to their skin antioxidant defense being unable to match the overwhelming oxidative stress, acne patients experience very high levels of systemic inflammation.
The key to acne-clear skin is therefore the prevention of local skin inflammation as well as the reduction of systemic inflammation in the body, things that can be achieved through the adoption of the right diet and lifestyle changes. Further protection of the skin can be accomplished through supplementation and topical application of antioxidants like Vitamin E.
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