Acne is skin condition that occurs when tiny holes on the surface of the skin, called pores, becomes clogged.  Each pore is an opening to a canal called a follicle, which contains a hair and an oil gland. Normally, the oil glands help keep the skin lubricated and help remove old skin cells. When glands produce too much oil, the pores can become blocked, accumulating dirt, debris,and bacteria. The blockage is called a plug or comedone.  Acneis caused by changes in pilosebaceous units via androgen simulation and is characterized by noninflammatory follicular papules or comedones and by inflammatory papules, pustules, and nodules in its more severe form.  Acne usually begins during adolescence and subsides by the late twenties.  Sometimes, however newborns can develop acne.  It may also begin later in life and last well into middle age but generally it is teenagers who have the most volatile reactions to acne. This condition tends to run in families too. 

What triggers acne?

There are several factors that trigger acne including skin bacteria, drugs and industrial chemicals and cosmetics, and others.  It is usually set off by hormonal changes, such as menstrual periods, pregnancy, or stress.   But it can also be caused by greasy or oily cosmetic and hair products, certain drugs (such as estrogen, testosterone, steroids, etc.), and by high levels of humidity and sweating.

Acne Symptoms

  •          Blackheads
  •          Whiteheads
  •          Crusting of skin eruptions
  •          Cysts
  •          Inflammation or redness around the skin eruptions
  •          Pustules

Can acne be controlled?

Acne can be controlled with proper skin care and regular use of appropriate medications.  Discuss with your dermatologist a skin regimen you can try.

Acne Treatment

A variety of adult and children acne treatments are available to prevent the development and spread of acne although it may pass with adolescence.  Prevention or early treatment of acne tends to be much more effective than trying to rid the skin of pits and scars later.  For mild acne, all that may be needed is frequent, gentle cleansing.  Washing your skin gently with mild, lanolin-free soap once or twice a day can help remove excess sebum (a waxy, oily substance secreted by sebaceous glands) and surface oils.  Do not scrub the skin too vigorously, especially when using abrasive soaps, since friction could damage the delicate hair follicle opening through which the sebum must flow.  For moderate to severe cases, there are many over-the-counter topical such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and resorcinol that effectively controls pimples.  If over-the-counter preparations do not help, your dermatologist may prescribe a drug or combination of drugs which may be in a form topical cleanser or gel which is applied directly to skin or tablet or capsule which is swallowed to work internally.  Topical antibiotics, such as Erythromycin, Tetracycline, or Clindamycin, are particularly effective against the bacteria living within the follicle and reduce the amount of irritant free fatty acids in the hair follicle.  However, it may not be enough to eradicate severe inflammatory acne, so oral antibiotic therapy is recommended.