Acne is generally known as the ‘common acne’, this is because nearly everyone suffers from a acne or pimple outbreak at some point in their life.
What is Acne?
Acne occurs when the greasy secretions from the skin’s sebaceous glands or oil glands plug the tiny openings of hair follicles. When the openings are larger then the clogging takes the form of a blackhead, which are small, flat spots with dark centres. If the opening is smaller then the clogs take the form of whiteheads, which are flesh coloured bumps on the skin.
There is a possibility that both types of plugged pores develop into swollen, tender inflammations or pimples. They can also become deeper lumps or nodules. These nodules are severe cases of ac ne where firm swellings develop below the skin’s surfacre. The firm swellings below the skin’s surface later get inflamed, tender and at times they become infected too.
Who are at risk?
Though acne remains the bane for adolescenence about 20% of all cases occur in adults. Acne affects during puberty between the ages of 10 and 13 and it is worst in those teens with oily skin.
This teenage acne can last from anywhere of 5 to 10 years. Finally it may go away when a person reaches 20 years. Women as well as men are susceptible to acne. Women more than men can get acne right upto the age of 30 and beyond.
Where do you get affected?
An acne attack is mostly seen on the face though other body parts including neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms are also equally vulnerable.
What causes acne?
The popular belief is that acne is caused by bad diet, poor hygiene or uncontrolled sex drive. The truth though is that acne is caused by heredity and hormones are the hidden culprits. Being a stickler to hygiene, a lean diet or swearing off chocolate is not going to reduce your predisposition to get acne.
Even then the cause of acne is not fully understood, though now even stress is supposed to aggravate acne.
Teenagers start getting hormone surges and this increases their chance of getting acne. During puberty, both boys and girls produce high levels of adrogens or testosterone, which signals the body to secret more sebum, the oil produced in the skin glands and thus giving rise to acne.
Sometimes severe clogging of the skin pores by sebum secretion leads to breakage in the follicle walls. This leads to the sebum enter the nearby tissues and form pustules. This is called inflammatory acne.
Contraceptives & Supplements
In some women contraceptive or birth control pills may cause an attack of acne. In some others they may suppress it. Steroids taken by athletes and other sportspersons also lead to severe acne.