What is sebum and why can it cause spots?

Everyone suffers from acne at some point in life. Sebum, the stuff designed by nature to keep your skin moisturised, is one of the main triggers for whiteheads, blackheads, spots and even cystic acne. The right amount of sebum helps protect your skin. But what happens when your skin produces too much sebum?

What is sebum?

Sebaceous glands produce your body’s sebum. They are found almost everywhere on your skin, with your back, forehead and chin having the most. Only the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet don’t produce sebum.

Sebum is a naturally oily substance that moisturises, lubricates and protects your skin and hair. It keeps your skin waterproof and hydrated. A normal sebum production helps maintain healthy skin that is able to protect you from the elements. If your skin produces too little sebum, you could be suffering from dry, cracked skin. On the other hand, high sebum levels can contribute to the development of acne.

Why can sebum cause spots?

Sometimes your hair follicles or pores can become blocked with dead skin cells and sebum, making it the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow. Bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes live inside the pores of your skin. When sebum becomes trapped in a pore these bacteria will build up rapidly as the low oxygen environment supports their growth and as they feed on sebum.

Whiteheads are blocked pores below your skin’s surface, which are non-inflamed. They can turn into blackheads when the pores open up. Your pores can get inflamed when sebum leaks into tissue, forming a papule (a swollen spot) or a pustule (a spot containing pus). When a papule or pustule explodes, the inflammation can spread, causing more spots.

Clear and healthy skin

When your biome is balanced you have enough friendly bacteria to fight off the acne-causing bacteria. On the other hand, when your biome becomes unbalanced you are more likely to suffer from whiteheads, blackheads and inflamed spots, all caused by these infectious bacteria. Discover 7 reasons why your skin can experience irritation making you more likely to suffer from spots and blemishes.

Thankfully there are lots of things you can do to avoid irritation to your skin and prevent breakouts and flare-ups.

Find out more!

Be kind to yourself! Whether you suffer from teen or adult acne, fight it by being kind to your skin as you don’t want overly harsh products to cause even more flare-ups. YUN’s Acne therapy fights spots in a kind way!

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