Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Exactly Is Acne And What Causes It?

Acne is a very common skin condition that generally affects people during their teenage years. More commonly known as pimples, it most often appears on the face but can affect other parts of the body such as the back, neck and shoulders.

While it is usually associated with teenagers, acne does affect adults as well. Plus, it's a universal problem - it affect men and women almost equally and occurs in every race.

The full name for acne is Acne Vulgaris. The visible symptoms are lesions that break out on the skin. These lesions may be whiteheads, blackheads or cysts which are formed out of clogged pores.

The reason it's commonly seen during puberty is because at that age the body produces a larger amount of an oily substance called sebum. Sebum keeps the hair and skin soft and lubricated, but during puberty it is overproduced. This excess clogs pores and will often leave the skin feeling oily.

Another change during puberty that can contribute to acne is higher production of follicle cells. The cells that are dying can build up quickly, combine with sebum and form whiteheads.

This mixture provides a breeding ground for bacteria - resulting in the swelling and redness commonly called pimples.

Acne affects roughly 85% of people between 12 and 24 years old. About 25% of those affected develop acne on other areas than just the face, the most common being the back and neck. 40% of people suffering from acne seek medical attention to help deal with severe outbreaks.

The most common area that is affected by acne is what is known as the T Zone on the face. This is made up of the forehead, nose and chin. Acne does form on other facial areas however, such as the cheeks.

The second most common part of the body to be affected is the back followed by the neck, chest and shoulders.

For most people, their acne will clear up by the time they're in their 20's. There are some cases where it will continue throughout their adult life however, and some people experience it for the first time as an adult.

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