This Article is About
glands in the body
hair follicle
white blood cell
sebaceous glands
human immune system
excess oil
microorganism
Propionibacterium Acnes
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Propionibacterium Acnes

Propionibacterium Acne, the microorganism that is responsible for acne growth in almost all individuals around the world. The process of the growth of P. acnes is slow and steady. Normally considered as an anaerobic organism (does not require oxygen for growth), this bacteria lives on the oil (sebum) secreted by the sebaceous glands in the body.

Despite its association with acne formation, P. acnes are considered a normal resident of our skin and are normally undamaging. A recent study has provided us with information around P. acnes. It has been determined during the study of its genetic structure that this microorganism has the capability to damage skin and proteins through generating a certain enzyme that is mainly triggered by the human immune system.

Acne formation is mainly dealt with in the pilosebaceous unit of the integumentary system of our body and is mainly composed of the sebaceous gland that is responsible for oil production, the hair follicle, and the hair. These units are found mostly around the body except on the palms, soles, lower lip, and the top of the feet. Most of these units exist on the face, chest, and the upper neck where most of acne growth is the greatest.

To further understand acne formation, a careful understanding regarding its pathophysiology (changes of a certain medical condition) must be taken into account.

As the person experiences the changes he/she undergoes during puberty, an increase of the hormone androgen in the body triggers an excess production of sebum (oil) in the pilosebaceous units located around the common areas where pimple growth is usually found. P. acnes, which are a normal inhabitant of the skin, feeds on the excess oil thus giving it the ideal anaerobic environment to thrive and multiply. Once the bacterium has reached a

certain amount, it will attract white blood cell (a major component of the blood) to the area and this in turn triggers a production of an enzyme that damages the wall of the hair follicle. The contents of the damaged hair follicle will flow into the dermis creating an inflammation that is known by many as acne. Furthermore, the bacteria will cause a buildup of free fatty acids which are considered irritants to the inflammation causing an increase of the swelling of the acne.

Bacterial infection is just one of the several causes of acne in teenagers. Several medical treatment are prescribed to such conditions such as oral or topical antibacterial agents that reduces the number of P. acnes and also removes excess oil and papules caused by the bacteria. An example of this antibacterial agent is the widely used Benzoyl Peroxide that is now a common prescription for mild to moderate acne conditions.


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