Acne is a common condition that causes blocked pores, pimples, cysts and other lesions on the skin of the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Acne affects over 17 million people in the US, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While mostly teenagers are affected, adults of any age can suffer from acne. Acne is not life-threatening, but can lead to physical disfigurement and emotional distress. There are several effective treatment methods available to help improve the appearance of the skin and prevent future breakouts from occurring.
Acne develops on the skin when the pores become clogged, which may occur as a result of an overproduction of oil, a buildup of bacteria or shedding of dead skin cells that irritate the pores and hair follicles. When these substances build up in the hair follicle, they form a soft plug that forces the follicle wall to bulge and protrude from the skin, causing a lesion to develop.
The cause of excess oil production is unknown, but is believed to be caused by a combination of several factors, including hormones, bacteria, heredity and certain medications. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate or other foods and dirt do not cause acne.
Patients with acne may experience:
While acne does not usually lead to any serious health conditions, it can cause permanent scarring and damaging emotional effects for patients of any age. Patients should seek dermatologic treatment for acne if symptoms do not respond to over-the-counter treatment methods or scarring develops as the acne clears.
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