Acne is a skin condition caused by the excess production of oil from the sebaceous glands and the inflammation of the hair follicles. Acne typically appears on the face, chest and back and occurs when pores become clogged. It is the most common skin condition.
Located just under the surface of the skin, the sebaceous glands produce sebum oil to keep the skin moisturised. These glands are found within hair follicles, and when the follicles become blocked for any reason - normally with dead cells or dirt - they are invaded by bacteria that normally live on the skin, and this causes the formation of a spot or infection.
There are varying degrees of acne severity, including: papules, small spots that are near the surface of the skin; pustules, deeper infections; cysts, closed sacs deep under the skin and nodules, hard swellings. The most severe cases of acne carry a risk of scarring. This occurs when the skin tries to repair the damage caused by acne by replacing damaged skin cells with new ones.
Acne - risk factors
Acne is a skin condition that can affect people of all ages, although it is primarily associated with teenagers. The condition often begins with puberty and can worsen throughout adolescence, but the exact cause of acne is not known.
However, there are a number of risk factors closely associated with acne; these include hormonal changes, reactions to certain drugs, abrasive soaps, stress and polluted environments. Men are also more likely to suffer from acne than women.
While acne is not a serious condition in and of itself, it can become debilitating for sufferers by negatively impacting their confidence levels. Furthermore, scarring from acne can remain long after the condition itself has been alleviated.
Acne treatments include skin peels such as the Obagi Blue Peel or medical microdermabrasion. Scarring left behind from previous acne outbreaks can also be alleviated with the help of laser treatments.
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