What Is Acne?

By: Steve Welker

Acne is commonly known as pimples, it is a skin condition that commonly afflicts people during their teenage years. Acne pre-dominantly affects the face but can also show up on the back, neck, shoulders and chest. While most common in teenagers it can appear on adults as well. Neither race or gender is an indicator of acne as it affects male and female and all races equally.

The medical term for it is Acne Vulgaris. It can be diagnosed by the lesions that form on the skin. These lesions can take several different forms: blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. Cysts are formed when the pore becomes completely blocked. Acne is most common during puberty because at this time your body is creating an excess of sebum. Sebum is an oily substance designed to keep the hair and skin soft and lubricated. During puberty the production of sebum is greatly increased which can cause the skin to feel oily and clog pores.

During puberty there is also an increase in the production of follicle cells. Dead follicle cells mixed with sebum can build up and cause white heads. This mix of oil and dead cells is a perfect breeding ground for bacterial which will cause the swelling and redness associated with pimples.

Acne affects about 85% of all people sometime from the age of 12-24. Around 25% of these people will have acne on their back and/or neck as well as the face. The acne will be severe enough to cause about 40% of these people to seek medical treatment.

Acne is most common on the face, especially on the forehead, nose and chin. The back is the next most common area of affliction followed by the neck, chest and shoulders.

Most people will have outgrown their acne problems by the time they reach their twenty’s, but some people will continue to suffer from acne even as adults. In some cases people will not have any acne issues until they are adults, this happens more frequently in men than women.

Acne can have severe emotional and psychological repercussions. Since it affects their appearance it also affects their self image and self esteem. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to this attack on their self-confidence and can even trigger withdraw and depression, as well as feelings of anger and frustration.

Fortunately in this day and age there are many treatments that can help with acne. The foremost thing that can be done to help avoid or alleviate acne is to keep the skin as clean and oil free as possible. Washing the most common problem areas several times a day with soap and water, especially after any activity that triggers perspiration, is usually adequate. There are also many medications available by prescription and over the counter to help with acne control.

If the acne is severe enough you can consult a dermatologist, they can prescribe medications for the skin as well as antibiotics to help fight the bacteria. They can also offer advise on life style and diet changes that might help with the condition.

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