Acne

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Acne: Acne or pimples, are the terms used to describe a most common skin condition of an inflammatory nature. Acne is caused by the plugging up of the skin pores. Acne and pimples, are most common in adolescent boys, and can occur in both sexes. Acne usually begins at the beginning of puberty, or at a time when the hormonal glands are active, such as in pregnancy, and before menstruation. Acne is cause when the sebaceous glands within the hair follicles, or pores become plugged, The plug can cause the follicle to bulge causing what is called white heads, and if the top of the bulge becomes dark, it is known as Black heads. If the plug grows in size, it can cause the wall of the follicle to rupture, and normal bacteria and dead skin cells along with oil, can enter The skin and form a small infected area called, pustules, also known as pimples or zits. If the infected area lies deep within the skin, they may become large enough to form cysts.

Cysts: Cysts are formed when oil underneath the follicle continues to grow and fill the affected area resulting in a soft raised area of the skin (a lump). cysts are not usually painful or discolored unless they become infected.

Acne is not contagious, and is not caused by dirt or other external factors. Although dirt and oil left on the face can contribute to Acne. Acne is considered a hormonal disorder, and is considered to be a hereditary disorder. In the severe forms of acne cysts or absecess, scars can be produced.

Acne Vulgaris affects 85% of the population who are between the ages of 12 and 25. It occurs primarily on the face, chest, and upper back. The cause is unknown, but there is a genetic factor. That is, the chance of getting it, and the severity tends to run in some families. Males and females get it at the same rate, however males tend to have more severe cases. This is because testosterone (male hormone) increases and estrogen (female hormone) decreases the amount of sebum (a fatty secretion of glands or sacs into the pore) produced. Factors that increase the chance of having acne are, thickening of the skin around pores, increased production of sebum and increased number of a specific bacteria (Propionibacterium acne's) on the skin. Acne begins in the pores of the affected of skin. Sebum fills the pore.

Again: There are two major types. In the first type, the sebum remains in the pore, and is called noninflamitory acne. If it remains open it is referred to as a blackhead. If it is closed it is called a white head. The second, referred to as inflammatory, the sebum remains in the skin pore, and the walls of the pore begin to thin and break down. When the sebum and bacteria enter the surrounding tissue it becomes inflamed ( red, swollen, and painful) and infected (bacteria growing in the tissue). If this happens close to the surface of the skin, it can cause severe scarring. If it occurs deeper in the skin, (areas the body has walled off from the surrounding tissue, in an effort to stop the the bacteria from spreading) abscess and cysts may occur.

Treatments

Acne tends to get better during the summer. This may be due to exposure to the sun.

Antibiotics applied directly to the affected area, and over-the-counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and/or tretinoin. These are considered the first line of defense, and used before moving on to oral (taken by mouth) antibiotics, sex hormones, and others.

Some severe cases can be helped by surgery.

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