Acne is a skin condition in which oil (sebum secretion) and dead skin cells clog pores (hair follicles), forming pimples. Acne differs from common pimples in that it consists of multiple pimples at once and these tend to become recurrent. Acne is very common and occurs in most people at least once. Acne usually occurs during puberty and improves in adulthood. It can cause scarring on the skin, but in most cases it does not cause health problems in the long run.
Pimples occur when dead skin cells and oil clog skin pores. As oil builds up behind the clogged pore, the pore becomes inflamed and the spine becomes painful and swollen. It is common for acne to begin in adolescence, and to be related to the hormones that start circulating in the body at puberty. Acne often improves in early adulthood, but it can persist for longer. Acne affects teenage boys more than girls, and adult women more than men. Acne sometimes occurs in several members of the family. The use of creams or heavy oils that block pores can lead to the development of acne. People with hormonal imbalance may be more likely to develop acne.
Typical symptoms include pimples on the skin, cysts and nodules. These can become blackheads, white-headed pimples, pus pimples or hard lumps under the skin. Pimples often occur on the face, but they can also affect the shoulders, back, chest and other parts of the body. The skin around and over the pimples is sometimes red and painful. Over time, the affected skin may become darker or scarred.
The diagnosis of acne is usually made by examining the skin to check the number and severity of the pimples.
The treatment of acne depends on the severity of the condition. Simple measures to improve acne symptoms include washing your face and hair regularly (but not excessively) to remove excess oil, and avoid heavy, oily creams and cosmetics. Quitting smoking often improves symptoms. Squeezing or popping pimples can block your pores even more and make acne worse. Some women find that acne is related to their menstrual cycle and that it improves when they take the birth control pill. Other treatments for acne can be recommended or prescribed by a doctor and include light or laser therapy, facial medicinal soaps, facial peels, oral medications and, if there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics. Healthy eating with whole grains,
Avoiding very strong creams and cosmetics, as well as objects that rub against the skin (such as hair bands, heavy clothes and braces) can help reduce some symptoms of acne.
Acne usually improves in adulthood. Severe or persistent acne can lead to scarring of the skin. It can also cause self-esteem problems, which sometimes stay with the person throughout their adult life.