Acne

Acne is a very common skin condition that causes pimples mostly on the face, forehead, chest, shoulders and upper back. There are a variety of causes including genetics, fluctuating hormone levels, stress, high humidity and using oily or greasy personal care products. Acne commonly affects teenagers but can occur at any age.

What is acne?

Acne is a common skin condition where the pores of your skin become blocked by hair, sebum (an oily substance), bacteria and dead skin cells. Those blockages produce blackheads, whiteheads, nodules and other types of pimples. If you have acne, know you’re not alone. It’s the most common skin condition that people experience. It’s estimated that 80% of people ages 11 to 30 will have at least a mild form of acne, and most people are affected by it at some point in their lives.

Who does acne affect?

Though it mainly affects teenagers and young adults undergoing hormonal changes, many people continue struggling with acne into their 20s, 30s and beyond. Some even develop acne for the first time as adults.

Where does acne most commonly occur?

The most common spots where you might have acne are your face, forehead, chest, shoulders and upper back. Oil glands are all over your body, but those are the places where there are the most. The best way to treat acne depends on how severe it is. Acne can be mild (a few occasional pimples) moderate (inflammatory papules) or severe (nodules and cysts).

What are the different types of acne?

Acne can take several forms. They include:

  • Blackheads: Open bumps on the skin that fill with excess oil and dead skin. They look as if dirt has deposited in the bump, but the dark spots are actually caused by an irregular light reflection off the clogged follicle.
  • Whiteheads: Bumps that remain closed by oil and dead skin.
  • Papules: Small red or pink bumps that become inflamed.
  • Pustules: Pimples containing pus. They look like whiteheads surrounded by red rings. They can cause scarring if picked or scratched.
  • Fungal acne (pityrosporum folliculitis): This type occurs when an excess of yeast develops in the hair follicles. They can become itchy and inflamed.
  • Nodules: Solid pimples that are deep in your skin. They are large and painful.
  • Cysts: Pus-filled pimples. These can cause scars.

All of these forms of acne can affect your self-esteem. It’s best to seek help from your healthcare provider early so they can help determine the best treatment option(s) for you.

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