What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin problem, affecting people of all ages. Its causes include hormone fluctuations and how your skin pores work, among other factors.

Blockages prevent oil from your skin from escaping normally and can result in whiteheads, blackheads or pus-filled pimples.


Acne is a common skin condition characterized by spots and pimples on any part of the body, with whiteheads, blackheads and cysts being among its hallmarks. While acne may affect any part of the body at any given time, its most prevalent sites of attack tend to be face and shoulders.

Sebum production increases during puberty when hormones stimulate sebaceous glands to produce more oil (called sebum). When combined with dead skin cells, sebum and dead cells clog hair follicles and lead to inflammation, swelling, redness and pus.

Genetic predisposition to acne increases its likelihood. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty or pregnancy can also trigger breakouts in some individuals.

Certain lifestyle habits can aggravate existing acne, such as smoking and stressing out, while tight collars, helmets or chin straps may exacerbate symptoms further.


Acne can make you self-conscious about your appearance and negatively affect both mental health and social engagement, sometimes leading to avoidance of social activities and an emotional strain.

Acne symptoms range from non-inflamed blackheads, whiteheads and bumps with white centers to inflamed red pimples with pus. Other forms of acne may also include cysts and nodules – larger hard pus-filled bumps which form under the skin – cysts and nodules are also common forms.

Acne is an extremely common skin condition, affecting an estimated 80% of individuals at some point during their lives. Acne occurs when pores become blocked with excess sebum and dead skin cells, leading to bumps of various sizes forming within pores, creating blackheads, whiteheads and pimples as a result. Cystic acne and nodules are more serious forms of acne which may result in scarring if left untreated; your doctor can detect acne by asking about your medical history and conducting a physical exam in order to diagnose you correctly.


Treatment for acne should aim to stop new breakouts, dry up excess oil and reduce inflammation. Treatment options can range from medication taken orally or applied directly to the skin to medical procedures and lifestyle modifications.

Your GP may prescribe topical skin medications similar to what can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC). These generally contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as active ingredients that reduce oil on the surface of skin while fighting inflammation.

Try applying topical retinoid, which contains vitamin A and is designed to unclog pores and keep them clear. Consult your physician about this option; results could take months.

Your doctor may suggest corticosteroid injections if you’re experiencing severe, painful breakouts that don’t respond to other treatments, although this should only be used in short term for severe breakouts as long-term use may cause side effects and become ineffective.


Acne is caused by pores that become clogged with oil, dead skin cells and other debris; this allows bacteria to flourish and create inflammation, redness and swelling in the surrounding tissue.

There are several things you can do to prevent acne breakouts. Most importantly, washing your face on a regular basis and after sweating can help eliminate excess dirt and oil build-up on your skin.

Maintaining clear skin requires using products that won’t irritate it such as astringents and alcohol-based skin care products, along with using moisturizer twice daily that won’t clog your pores.

Diet plays an integral part in how your skin appears and feels. Make an effort to consume foods rich in fiber and low in saturated fats while increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake as these nutrients can reduce inflammation that contributes to acne outbreaks.

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