What is acne

Acne is a condition that affects the oil glands in the skin. It is a common disease that can be very distressing. The skin is full of tiny holes which are known as "skin pores" and these are connected to the oil glands that lay under the skin. The glands secrete an oil which is referred to as sebum. The skin pores are linked to the glands via a canal which is known as a follicle. The inner part of the follicle contains oil which transports the dead skin cells to the skin surface. A slender hair grows up through the follicle and out of the skin. If the follicle on the skin gland becomes blocked then a spot may appear. In general the spots will appear on the shoulders, chest, back, neck and face but they may appear elsewhere. Acne can be unsightly and in some cases it can cause permanent scarring. However, acne is not a life threatening condition. If the hair, skin cells and sebum clump together to form a plug then acne may develop. Bacteria forms in the plug and in turn this causes the surrounding area of skin to swell. As and when the plug breaks down a spot will appear.

Acne is one of the most common skin diseases. Women and men of all races and ages can develop acne. Because acne tends to affect adults and teens it is commonly known as a teenage ailment. It is thought that around eighty per cent of the entire population aged between eleven and thirty will develop some form of acne. The root cause of acne has never been established but there are various different theories. Many people feel that a poor diet can cause this condition but this is a myth. Eating fatty foods, crisps and chocolate does not induce acne. But those who eat a well-balanced diet do tend to have good complexions. Hence acne is not diet related.

Many dermatologists and doctors feel that acne could be caused by a hormonal increase during puberty. This hormonal surge may cause the oil glands to become blocked. Mature women may develop acne when they are pregnant. During pregnancy significant hormonal changes take place. Women who take oral contraceptives may suffer side effects such as acne. Acne is a skin condition that may be hereditary. Certain medications such as antibiotics could cause an outbreak of acne. Some cosmetics, in particular greasy creams may also cause acne. Acne can be treated using over the counter creams and topical face washes. Those who experience a severe acne breakout may have to take a course of prescribed steroids or antibiotics. Much depends on the severity of the acne outbreak. Acne should be treated without delay to avoid scarring. Anyone who suffers from this distressing skin condition should contact their doctor. If the acne is severe then the physician may feel that it is appropriate to refer you to a dermatologist ( a person who specializes in skin diseases). The specialist will then be able treat your acne to the best of his ability.

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