ACNE: PART ONE - SEBUM: WHAT IS IT?


First and foremost acne is a multi-factorial skin disease, suffered by both males and females, throughout all stages of life: infantile, teen and adult. Unfortunately, acne is a skin disease that is systemic - this is why there has been new clinical research into endocrine health (hormonal disorders/imbalances, gut health, the gut microbiome and its close relationship with the skin).

It's very important that people begin to understand that the body is a living working functioning organism within itself. We literally have more bacteria in our body than cells - that's something to think about, especially considering acne is an imbalance of a bacteria that lies within the pilosebaceous unit of the hair follicle within the skin.

SKIN PHYSIOLOGY: UNDER THE SKIN

When educating about acne conditions I like to start from the base. It's extremely important that you understand that there is no one ingredient, cream, lotion, treatment or overnight cure for acne.

As mentioned before, acne is  multi-factorial skin disease, meaning that there is MORE than ONE contributing factor causing the condition, its an interrelation of a few:

- sebum form, type and transition

- hyperkeratosis

- proliferation of bacteria

There are only 3 ways in which the sebum production alters:

- during puberty

- patient diagnosed w/ Parkinson's (these client are generally more oily, not acnaeic.

- stripping the skin of its essential oil (epidermal barrier)

WHAT ARE SEBOCYTES?

Sebocytes are highly specific and specialised cells located in the sebaceous glands that are responsible for producing sebum.

Sebum is a remarkably complex mixture that is species specific and in humans is made up of:

- triglycerides

- diglycerides

- free fatty acids

- wax esters

- squalane

- cholesterol

- cholesterol esters

Remember that sebum is VERY important in more ways than one.

WHAT DOES SEBUM HAVE TO DO WITH ACNE?

Sebocytes are responsible for the production and distribution of sebum. How this matters with acne, is that the Proprionibacterium acnes (now founded under new clinical studies as Cutibacterium acnes) is found within the sebaceous gland of the skin - this is the case FOR ALL SKINS. 

WE ALL NATURALLY HAVE P.ACNES BACTERIA IN OUR SEBACEOUS GLANDS - IT IS JUST AT A BALANCED LEVEL 

When there is a disruption in any part of the body, the body responds. When looking at acne, the disruptions you see are on the face, neck, chest and back in most common cases, but these area's of lesions are NOT where you should be focusing treatment initially.

Internal inflammation, bacterial imbalances, food intolerance's/allergies, stress, hormonal stimulation, hormonal imbalance, unbalanced gut microbiome, insufficient nutrient levels and incorrect skin regime are literally ALL impacting factors when treating acne.

SKIN COMPOSITION:

When you think of skin, I want you to visualise a brick wall; the bricks are your skin cells (corneocytes) and the mortar/cement is the lipids (oils) of the skin, holding all the cells together and giving us our skin; epidermis, dermis and hyperdermis.

As a sebocyte produces sebum; p.acnes breaks down the triglycerides in sebum into free fatty acids, glycerol and the enzyme lipase. How this affects the skin is as the enzyme lipase increases due to the p.acnes

It is so important to remember that the skin is a living, breathing organism that is made up of small, microscopic cells. The skin has a function, like every other organ within your body, and its function is extremely dependent on the HEALTH of the cells in which is relies on.

ALL of your internal organs are made up of cells, tissues and fibers:

Heart:-  myocardiocytes (cardiac monocytes)

Liver:-  hepatocyte and parenchymal cells

Kidneys:-  podocyte and parenchymal cells

GI Tract:-  enteroendocrine and isle of langerhan cells

Brain:-  neurons and glial cells

Ok, I think that's enough science for you guys for now.

- Michaela

Dermal Therapist

Laserclear Cosmetic Clinic

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