What is Acne?

What is acne? Acne is a term attributed to plugged pores, commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads, pimples, and even cysts or nodules, occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Follicles, often called pores, often get blocked with sebum (oil), which normally drains to the surface, and a bacteria propionibacterium acnes, begins to grow. Both whiteheads and blackheads start out as a "microcomedone" which then become skin blemishes called comedones. Acne can be upsetting, disfiguring, sometimes leading to permanent scarring.

There are different types of acne. A white head is a lesion where trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin surface. A blackhead, on the other hand, is a lesion where trapped sebum and bacteria partially open to the surface and turn black due to the skin pigment melanin.

A papule is a small solid lesion slightly elevated above the surface of the skin. A pustule, again, is a dome-shaped skin elevation containing pus: a mixture of white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria. It often has a hair in the center. A macule is a temporary red spot left by a healed acne lesion. It is flat and pinkish, with well-defined borders that can persist for days to weeks. A number of macules can contribute to the "inflamed face" appearance of acne. A nodule is a solid dome-shaped or irregularly shaped lesion, characterized by pain, inflammation and extending into deeper layers of the skin. It may cause tissue destruction resulting in scarring.

A cyst is a sac-like lesion containing white blood cells, dead cells, and bacteria. It may be severely inflamed and painful, extending into deeper layers of the skin and can result in scarring.

Who gets acne? Acne affects teenagers mostly; however it can occur in adults of all age groups also. Acne starts between the ages of ten and thirteen and usually lasts for five to ten years. It normally goes away on its own in the early twenties but can stretch into the late twenties or thirties or even beyond. Some people get acne for the first time as adults.

The treatment of acne is not difficult at all. Following a clear regimen helps considerably. Gentle cleansing plus plenty of 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide gives a clear skin as Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne bacteria well. A little itchiness after an application is quite normal, and some people also experience redness of the skin for the initial couple of weeks. However, this will definitely get better because it will cure the acne and prevent any new outbreaks.

Lana Hampton is the webmaster of http://www.theacnecenter.com. Visit her site today for the latest acne information, treatments and product reviews.

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In The News:

Case-based learning: acne vulgaris  The Pharmaceutical Journal
Are Thyroid Issues Causing Your Acne?  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
How to get clear skin  Daily Press
What Does It Mean When Acne Is on Certain Areas of Your Face?  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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