Acne also called acne vulgaris is a skin condition in which small papules or skin lesions commonly occur on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and the upper back.
The reason they are found in these areas is because the skin in these areas is densely occupied by sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are present in the skin all over the body except in the palms and the soles. They secrete an oily substance called sebum onto the skin through the hair follicles. The function of the sebum is to moisturize and lubricate the skin.
What is acne made of?
Acne are caused by the blocking of the hair follicles by excessive secretion of an oily substance called sebum. This is secreted by the oil glands called the sebaceous glands. These glands are situated at the base of the hair follicles. The hair follicles open onto the skin through the skin pore.
This excessive secretion causes blocking and swelling of the hair follicle opening on the skin. Dead skin cells which are drained out through the pores of the skin get trapped inside.
Superadded bacterial infection sets in. This leads to reddish papules over the opening on the skin called pimples. An outbreak of pimples is called acne vulgaris. Acne, therefore, are made of dead skin cells, sebum and bacteria trapped inside the hair follicle, which has been blocked by excessive secretion of sebum.
How Common is Acne
Acne vulgaris is the most common skin condition in the United States with a prevalence of 75 to 85 percent. It affects 90% of teenagers and about 50 to 60 percent of adult women. It is estimated that 17 million Americans ar affected by acne at any given time. It can affect people of all races and can occur at any age though it is more common in adolescents and teenagers. Acne in men persist for a longer time than in women because of higher quantities of testosterone in men, especially young men.
You may have mild acne eruptions or severe acne. Both do mar the look of your face and can give you a complex, especially if you are a girl.
What is an acne prone skin?
All of us have sebaceous glands which empty out sebum onto the skin. Some of us have an acne prone skin, which simply means an oily skin caused by excessive secretion of sebum. .This excessive secretion of sebum could be due to various causes such as a genetic trait or a hormonal cause.
Effective treatments and home remedies for acne are available and the sooner you start, the faster and better is the prognosis. Untreated acne can leave scars which are difficult to get rid off.
Following simple to follow tips will help you get rid of acne fast. If you are prone to them by virtue of an oily skin or other factors, certain steps on prevention can help you prevent getting acne.
Types of Acne
Acne can present in various forms:
Mild acne: Blackheads and whiteheads
Mild acne refers to the whiteheads and the blackheads, which almost all of us get at various times. In medical terms, they are referred to as comedones. Usually, they are found more on the face and the shoulders.
Blackheads are referred to as open comedones because the hair follicles have a wider opening and the air enters inside the hair follicle to oxidize the melanin in the sebum and the dead skin cells blocked in the hair follicles. This reaction gives it the black color and hence the name.
Whiteheads are referred to a closed comedones because the skin pore opening is very small and the air cannot enter inside the hair follicle. There is no oxidation of the melanin and therefore it stays white in color.
Moderate acne are red inflamed pimples called papules and these red pimples with white centers are called pustules.
Severe acne are painful nodules and cysts, which develop under the skin and are filled with pus.