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Build up of oil and dead skin cells in a hair follicle opening can cause local bacteria to reproduce, which prompts a response by the immune system. This can lead to redness and inflammation. This animation shows how this process occurs.
When a skin pore gets clogged with a mixture of oil and dead skin cells, a whitehead or blackhead may result. If the blocked pore becomes infected with bacteria, a pimple can develop. Clogged pores are more common during times of hormonal fluctuation, such as during adolescence, pregnancy, or menstruation, or with the use of birth control pills. Clogged pores may also be caused by humidity, sweating, irritation, oily cosmetic products, and poor skin care.
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