Disorders :: What is Sebum :: Sebum Disorders
One of the most common sebum disorders that we know is acne.
This problem attacks our youth around the world, and it seems
that very few are exempt during puberty. But there are other
sebum and sabaceous disorders that are lesser known. Four that
come to mind are acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis and
What is Sebum?
Sebum is secreted by the sabaceous glands and is an oily
substance. Sebum is really the skins natural moisturizer. The
main purpose is to waterproof the skin and hair and try to
protect it from drying out.
The sabaceous glands lie just below the skin's surface. As
we know they produce sebum. These glands are found within the
hair follicles and are called sabaceous follicles. The
follicles open to the skin through pores.
During puberty, androgens (male hormones) is at an increased
level and cause the glands to produce to much sebum. When this
excess sebum combines with dead skin cells, a hard plug is
formed (comedo) that will block the pores. There are two types
of comedones, they are known as whiteheads and blackheads.
Acne and keratosis pilaris are the most common and can be
characterized by people having pimples, zits, blackheads,
whiteheads, cysts, scars and more. They can present themselves
as tiny, hard bumps on the skin. They can be found on the face,
back and chest. This happens when the pores of the skin become
clogged with oil, dead skin cells and nasty bacteria. Acne
vulgaris is the most common skin disease. Typically this can be
treated by a dermatologist with topical or even oral
Epidermal or Sabaceous Cyst
When one of the sabaceous glands become blocked a sabaceous
cyst is the result. This is a sac just beneath the outer layer
of the skin that can become filled with a greasy white
material. They can appear on the scalp, ears, face, back or
even the scrotum. They occur because of plugged ducts right at
the hair shaft.
What happens is it fills with sebum and become infected.
Most times they don't require any treatment, but sometimes they
may have to be removed with surgery when they become painful
Sebaceous hyperplasia is a condition that is similiar to
acne. It affects the elderly and the middle aged. It is an
enlargement of the sabaceous glands and rarely will they
develop a benign tumor or even cancer.
Mites of the genus Demodex (eyelash mites) will feed on
sebum. They take up home in the the sabaceous glands. Usually
there are no symptoms that are associated with Demodex. It will
cause itching, inflammation or even hair loss. This condition
is known as the mange in animals. Adults are more likely than
children to be carrying Demodex mites.
Sometimes acne scars can occur from some of these sebum
disorders. Acne scarring happens when new skin cells are laid
down that are replacing damaged skin cells.
Acne, cysts, mites and rosacea are diseases associated with
sebum disorders. Try to keep your face clean and don't touch
the affected areas with your hands. This will help to prevent
the spread of the problem. Check other natural acne treatments
for more information on how to prevent sebum disorders.
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