for Children and Adults
Sherry Guralnick Cohen
Board Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner

© 2001-2011 Dermatlas

Acne

Causes

Acne develops after pores, or tiny holes in the skin, are clogged.  Pores open to a canal called a follicle containing a hair and an oil gland.  Oil glands provide a layer of skin protection and help to destroy damaged older skin cells, however, if too much oil is released the pores can become blocked and accumulate dirt, debris and bacteria.  When this buildup occurs the blockage is called a plug or comedone.  Acne can lead to inflamed pimpules or pustules, nodules or cysts.  Acne prone areas include the face, chest, shoulders and back.  Since acne is associated with hormonal changes, it is often seen in adolescence, but can occur other times in the life cycle such as childbirth and menopause.

Treatment

Treatment of acne depends on the severity and location.  Using a soft detergent to gently clean the skin and remove any dirt covering the skin is recommended.  However, severe acne may required prescription topical, applied directly to the skin, or oral medication. 

Alternative Names

Acne vulgaris; Cystic acne; Pimples; Zits

References

  1. Google Health, https://health.google.com/health/ref/Acne
  2. Dermatas.org, http://www.dermatlas.org