What is acne? How does acne develop?
Acne is a common inflammatory skin disease that affects the skin's oil glands and causes pimples. Some people call it blemishes, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, or zits, however; medically it is known as Acne vulgaris. It commonly occurs during puberty when the sebaceous (oil) glands come to life. The glands are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands of both males and females
Acne is not dangerous, but can leave skin scars. Human skin has pores which connect to oil glands located under the skin. The glands are connected to the pores via follicles . These glands produce Sebum, an oily liquid. The sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. A small hair grows through the follicle out of the skin. Pimples grow when these follicles get blocked, resulting in an accumulation of oil under the skin.
Acne is the most common skin disease. People of all races and ages get acne. An estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point. Some older and younger people still get acne. Boys are more commonly affected than girls. Acne usually affects the face but may also affect the back, neck, and chest.
Severity of acne can range from mild to severe. About 9 in 10 teenagers develop some degree of acne. Often it is mild. However, it is estimated that about 3 in 10 teenagers have acne bad enough to need treatment to prevent scarring. Untreated acne usually lasts about 4-5 years before settling. However, it can last for many years in some cases.
For most, acne starts during the teen years. This is due to hormonal changes that make the skin oilier after puberty starts. If your parents had acne as teens, it's more likely that you will, too. The good news is that, for most people, acne goes away almost completely by the time they are out of their teens.
Using oil-based skin products or cosmetics can make acne worse. Therefore, use skin products that don't clog your pores. Make sure the label says "noncomedogenic" before you buy.
It might take time to get acne under control. However, if you haven't had good results with nonprescription products after trying them for 3 months, see your doctor. A prescription gel or skin cream may be all you need.
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