Acne is an extremely common skin condition with a prevalence of 80% in female and 90% in male teenagers. However, it can occur at any age. A growing number of adults are being diagnosed with adult acne.
For most people, acne is a bothersome condition characterized by occasional flare-ups of blackheads, pimples, and pustules. Most often, pimples develop on the face, neck, upper chest, and/or the back. More severe forms can result in inflamed nodules and cysts with scarring.
Hormones called androgens stimulate increased oil production. The oil is broken down into free fatty acids by bacterial enzymes, which causes skin inflammation and abnormal plugging of the oil glands and hair follicle.
Pimples eventually rupture.
Acne can sometimes be confused with these conditions:
What can make acne worse?
- Menstrual cycle: acne often worsens premenstrual or mid-cycle
- Prescription medications: certain birth control pills, steroids, and lithium
- Being overweight: increased insulin production can signal the body to release extra male hormones called androgens, which are involved, which can cause pimple formation.
- Pore-clogging (comedogenic) cosmetics, sunscreens, moisturizers, greases, and oils