Acne consists of black spots the size of a pin (blackheads), and pimples or pustules with whiteheads which may be surrounded by redness and inflammation. More severe acne may also include cysts and swollen, inflamed areas (abscesses).
Acne is a common skin condition which occurs mostly in teenagers but is not restricted to any age group. It is most common on the face, but can also be found on the back, chest, shoulders and neck. Research links acne to rising hormone levels during puberty causing the oil glands in the skin to become larger and produce more oil. Openings in the skin’s surface become clogged allowing bacteria to grow and irritate the skin. Oral contraceptives may be a factor in the onset of acne, however they can also lessen the severity of increased symptoms at the time of menses. Although acne cannot be prevented, it can be controlled.
Acne is not a life threatening condition and does not affect your general health, however, it can be upsetting and may have an adverse effect on self-esteem. If left untreated, it can cause scarring in varying degrees, including severe disfigurement.
Successful treatment for this condition is an ongoing process. There are many options available, depending on the severity of the condition:
Acne soaps of various strengths depending on oiliness of skin, Topical retinoids (Vitamin A Derivatives) such as Retin A, Topical antibiotics, Drying agents such as benzoyl peroxide, Acne therapy, including opening of pimples and removing blackheads and whiteheads, Glycolic acid skin care products, Glycolic acid peels, Oral antibiotics for moderate acne, Accutane therapy for very severe acne.
Your dermatologist will outline the appropriate combination for therapies for your condition. It is important that you continue your treatment regime until the tendency for acne has passed or your dermatologist recommends discontinuing therapy.