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What is acne?

Acne is an inflammatory skin disease which affects the tiny pores which cover the face, arms, back and chest and the oil glands attached to them. It is an abnormal response in the skin to normal levels of the male hormone, testosterone, in the blood. Both men and women have testosterone circulating in the blood, but in the acne sufferer, this hormone has a profound effect on the skin. This abnormal response is self limiting and eventually acne does get better without treatment,

but there is no way of predicting how long this can take, and it may take years or even decades! Acne can also leave scars which are permanent and are easier to prevent than to treat.

Acne is a pustular infection of the skin, caused by changes in the sebaceous glands. The most common form of acne is known as acne vulgaris, which means common acne. Excessive secretion of oils from the glands combine with naturally occurring dead skin cells to block the hair follicles. Oil secretions build up beneath the blocked pore, providing a perfect environment for the skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes to multiply uncontrolled. In response, the skin inflames, producing the visible lesion. The face, chest, back and upper arms are especially exposed.

The infection is common in puberty as a result of an abnormal response to normal levels of the male hormone testosterone. The response for most people diminishes over time and acne thus tends to disappear, or at least decrease, after one reaches early adulthood. There is, however, no way to predict how long it will take for it to disappear entirely, and some individuals will continue to suffer from acne decades later, into their thirties and forties and even beyond.

Acne affects a large percentage of humans at some stage in life. Aside from scarring its main effects are psychological, such as reduced self-esteem and depression. Acne usually appears during adolescence, when people already tend to be at their most socially-insecure. For this reason acne should be treated if severe.

More information on acne

What is acne? - Acne is an inflammatory skin disease which affects the tiny pores which cover the face, arms, back and chest and the oil glands attached to them.
What causes acne? - One important factor does seem to be rising levels of the hormones called androgens (male sex hormones) that are found in both boys and girls at the time of puberty. Another factor is heredity or genetics.
What's the treatment for acne? - Acne treatments include killing the bacteria that are caused by the blocked follicles, reducing the secretion of oils from the glands, normalizing the follicle cell lifecycle, and exfoliating the skin.
Acne medicine and medications - Topical acne medications may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or tretinoin, or retinoic acid. There are numerous non-prescription acne cleansers, astringents, moisturizers and pimple creams available.
Acne scars and treatments - Acne scars occur when spots become inflamed or don't heal properly. Acne scars are very hard to treat and it is unusual for the scars to be successfully removed completely.
What is acne rosacea (adult acne)? - Acne rosacea is a chronic skin condition of the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Rhinophyma may also develop in association with inflammatory rosacea.
What causes acne rosacea? - Flare-ups of rosacea are caused by triggers that stimulate the blood vessels in the face to dilate, which causes facial flushing. There may be some relationship between rosacea and Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
What are the symptoms of acne rosacea? - Symptoms of acne rosacea include frequent flushing, vascular rosacea, inflammatory rosacea, and several other conditions involving the skin, eyes, and nose.
What're the treatments for acne rosacea? - The goal of treatment for rosacea is to reduce or eliminate symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse. Presently, there is no cure for rosacea. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005