Part three on the science behind blocked pores

Blocked PoresAs part of your healthy skin cell life cycle, the new skin cells are programmed to die at just the right time.

Specifically, there’s a tiny structure called a desmosome that binds new skin cells together, and it’s the desmosome that needs to break down at the right time so the new skin cells can flatten, die, and become dead skin cells that can easily move up to the surface of the epidermis and flake off. It’s a constant process of renewal and flow, and it keeps your skin clear, glowing, and radiant. This image shows how the desmosomes bind the new skin cells together, kind of like tape.

But if the desmosomes don’t break down properly, what should be like Scotch tape becomes more like duct tape, and the new skin cells remain stuck together as they flatten and die. Now these dead skin cells also remain stuck together and do not slough off, which keeps the new skin cells from moving up the epidermis, and the whole process grinds to a halt. Old cells aren’t being sloughed off, new cells aren’t dying, and the result is a clogged pore, or a microcomedone, the invisible precursor to the blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples you can see. It all comes down to whether the “tape,” or desmosome, breaks down at the right time. So pore blockage is the first step in how acne forms.

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