What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that tends to appear during the teenage years. Acne usually appears on the face, but it can show up in other places as well. It is not limited to one particular area on your body. Most people will experience acne at some point in their life and it can affect you as an adult as well. Acne appears in every race and affects males and females almost equally, although women tend to suffer more frequently.

Acne Vulgaris is the proper name for acne. This condition is typically characterized by lesions that break out on the skin. The lesions can be whiteheads, blackheads or cysts which form because of clogged pores. This is commonly seen during puberty because this is when the body begins to produce an abundance of oil and a substance referred to as sebum. Sebum is required to keep the skin soft and lubricated. During puberty, however, it is produced more than needed. This excess causes the skin to feel oily and clogged pores.

Another change occurs during puberty is that the body begins to produce an excess amount of follicle cells. These dying cells will quickly build up and combine with the excess sebum that is being produced. This combination produces whiteheads. The area and mixture is a prime breeding ground for bacteria, which results in redness and swelling in the area. This inflammation is known as a pimple. Blackheads and whiteheads are non-inflamed areas, although they can be seen if grouped together closely.

Acne is extremely common condition that affects about 85% of people, especially between the ages of 12 and 24. About a quarter of this group will experience acne not only on their face, but on their back as well their neck. About 40% of people will seek medical attention for severe acne.

The main area for acne breakouts on the face is referred to as the “T-Zone.” This zone includes the forehead, nose and chin. Acne may appear on the cheeks and other parts of the face, but these areas tend to be much oilier than other areas. The next most common areas are the back, the neck, the chest and then the shoulders.