Acne affects more than 16 million Americans causing physical and emotional damage to many based on the severity of the condition.
Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. This condition most commonly appears on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders but can occur anywhere on the body. Acne can be a serious nuisance to those affected as lesions can heal slowly and typically continue to resurface in new areas without proper acne treatment.
Acne Risk Factors
There are many factors that increase the likelihood of being plagued by acne, including direct contact with greasy or oil substances, a family history of moderate to severe acne, and hormonal changes that occur in the body. In addition to these factors, certain individuals may be more likely to develop acne, including:
- Adolescents and teens during puberty
- Women and girls, 2-7 days before their periods
- Pregnant women
Certain medications, including those containing corticosteroids, androgens, or lithium can also aggravate the skin, leading to acne. Contrary to popular belief, emotional stress does not cause acne but stress can worsen preexisting acne.
Symptoms of Acne
Acne typically occurs on the upper body and most commonly develops on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders as these areas contain the largest amount of functional oil glands. Symptoms vary based on the acne may take and include:
- Comedones – The appearance of whiteheads or blackheads caused when follicles become clogged with oil secretions, dead skin cells, and, occasionally, bacteria.
- Papules - Red, tender bumps that generally signal inflammation or infection to the affected area.
- Pimples – Red, tender bumps that are filled with white pus at the tips.
- Cysts – Pus-filled lumps found beneath the surface that are typically painful to the touch. Cysts take on the appearance of boils and can often cause scarring to the affected part of the body.
Acne Diagnosis and Treatment
A dermatologist at Adena Dermatology who will test your skin for certain conditions diagnoses acne. In addition to a physical examination of the skin, your doctor is likely to ask questions about types of lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics that are applied to the skin. Once acne has been diagnosed and possible causes have been identified, our team prescribes a treatment plan that may include oral and topical medications. Most acne treatments work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell reconstruction, fighting bacterial infection, and reducing inflammation to the skin. Your dermatologist will determine which treatment plan is best for your condition.
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