Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin
The word acne comes from the word acme meaning the highest point, which comes from the Greek akme meaning point or spot it was originally misspelt, with an n rather than an m in 1835.In humans, pimples tend to appear on the face, back, chest, shoulders and neck.
Simply put skin cells, sebum and hair can clump together into a plug, this plug gets infected with bacteria, resulting in a swelling. A pimple starts to develop when the plug begins to break down.
Scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine found that there are good and bad strains of bacteria that determine the severity and frequency of developing acne. They explained in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology March 2013 issue that not all acne bacteria trigger pimples in fact, one strain they identified can help keep the skin pimple free.
2. How common is acne
Dermatologists skin specialists say that approximately three quarters of 11 to 30 year olds will get acne at some time. Acne can affect people of all races and all ages. It most commonly affects adolescents and young adults, although there are people in their fifties who still get acne. According to Brown University, USA, approximately 17 million Americans are estimated to have acne at any one time.
Although acne affects both men and women, young men suffer from acne for longer probably because testosterone, which is present in higher quantities in young men, can make acne worse.
3. What causes acne
Nobody is completely sure what causes acne. Experts believe the primary cause is a rise in androgen levels androgen is a type of hormone. Androgen levels rise when a human becomes an adolescent. Rising androgen levels make the oil glands under your skin grow; the enlarged gland produces more oil. Excessive sebum can break down cellular walls in your pores, causing bacteria to grow.
Some studies indicate that a susceptibility to acne could also be genetic. Some medications that contain androgen and lithium may cause acne. Greasy cosmetics may cause acne in some susceptible people. Hormone changes during pregnancy may cause acne either to develop for the first time, or to recur.
4. Treatment of acne
How your acne is treated may depend on how severe and persistent it is.
Treating mild acne
The majority of people who get acne will develop mild acne. This can usually be treated with OTC over the counter medications. OTC medications can be bought at a pharmacy without a doctors prescription. They are usually applied to the skin topical medicines.
Most acne OTC products may contain the following active ingredients:
Resorcinol helps break down blackheads and whiteheads. It is a crystalline phenol and comes from various resins. Resorcinol is also used for treating dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.
5. Who gets it
Acne is the common cause of spots. Most people with acne are aged between 12 and 25, but some older and younger people are affected. Boys are more commonly affected than girls. Acne usually affects the face but may also affect the back, neck, and chest. The severity can range from mild to severe. About 9 in 10 teenagers develop some degree of acne. Often it is mild. However, it is estimated that about 3 in 10 teenagers have acne bad enough to need treatment to prevent scarring. Untreated acne usually lasts about 4 5 years before settling. However, it can last for many years in some cases.
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