ACNE and its management
Acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones and other substances on the
skin's oil glands (sebaceous glands) and hair follicles. These factors lead to plugged pores
and outbreaks of lesions commonly called pimples. Acne lesions usually occur on the
face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Although acne is usually not a serious health
threat, it can be a source of significant emotional distress. Severe acne can lead to
Although most teenagers get some form of acne, adults in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or even
older, can develop acne. Often, acne clears up after several years, even without treatment.
Acne can be disfiguring and upsetting to the patient. Untreated acne can leave permanent
scars. To avoid acne scarring, treating acne is important.
The exact cause of acne is unknown, but doctors believe it results from several related
factors. One important factor is an increase in hormones called androgens. These increase
in both boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and
produce more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping
birth control pills can also cause acne.
Another factor is heredity or genetics. Researchers believe that the tendency to develop
acne can be inherited from parents.
Certain drugs, including androgens and lithium, are known to cause acne.
Greasy cosmetics may alter the cells of the follicles and make them stick together,
producing a plug.
Factors That Can Make Acne Worse
Factors that can cause an acne flare include:
• Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women 2 to 7 days before
their menstrual period starts
• Oil from skin products (moisturizers or cosmetics) or grease encountered in the
work environment (for example, a kitchen with fry vats)
• Pressure from sports helmets or equipment, backpacks, tight collars, or tight
• Environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity
• Squeezing or picking at blemish