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Acne – What is it?


Acne is a disease that affects the skin’s oil glands. The small holes in your skin or pores connect to oil glands under your skin.
These glands make an oily substance called sebum. The pores connect to the glands by a canal called a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. A thin hair also grows through the follicle and out to the skin. When the follicle of a skin gland clogs up, a pimple grows. Most pimples are found on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Acne is not a serious health threat, but it can cause scars. (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/acne/acne_ff.pdf)
Acne is a red, irritated inflammation in the skin that occurs when the hair follicles under the skin clog up. The increased flow of oil (called sebum) from the sebaceous glands in the dermis together with increased shedding of dead skin cells cause the blockage of the follicle pores, resulting into comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pimples or zits (Remedy Health Media, 1988).
The occurrence of acne is almost universal among individuals going through adolescence and often continues to adulthood. Acne is more common in teenagers and young adults than the other age groups. This is often caused by an increase in the testosterone levels in the body in which both sexes accrue during puberty (James, 2005). However, it can also affect all ages. Even children as young as five years old can develop acne.
Typical acne is prevalent in areas with the densest sebaceous follicles, making the skin prone to excessive sebum production. These areas include the face, particularly in the “T” zone, chest, upper part of the back, and sometimes in the shoulders and neck.
Based from Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, the term “common acne” usually indicates the presence of pustules (pinheads) and papules (pimples) and also refers to the most common type of acne – acnevulgaris. Many people get this type of acne. The following are the few known types of acne:
Acne vulgaris – This is the most common type of acne. It affects practically all adolescents and adults at some point in their lives. It is characterized by excessive oiliness of the skin and presence of seborrhea (scaly red skin), comedones, papules, pustules, nodules (large papules) and sometimes scars (Adityan, Kumari, & Thappa, 2009).
Acne rosacea – Spots from this type of acne look very similar to those of acne vulgaris but are more common in women than men. It is characterized by persistent breakouts mostly on the forehead and cheeks. In several cases, blackheads are not present (Buxton, 1988).
Acne conglobata– This is a severe but rare type of acne that occurs mostly in men. It usually started as common acne but has developed to be more persistent, painful and scarring (http://skinchannel.com/acne/acne_conglobata/). The nodules and comedones associated with acne conglobata are highly inflammatory and contain pus (Freedberg, 2003).
Acne fulminans – It is another type of severe acne that usually occurs abruptly after unsuccessful treatment of acne conglobata. Its symptoms include severe nodules, ulcerating pimples, as well as pain and inflammation in the lymph nodes and joints.

Acne information and Acne causes
Acne causes