Information and Treatments of Acne, Pimples, and Blackheads
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ACNE: Research everything you need to know about acne, blackheads, pimples, and whiteheads!

General Information About Acne:

What is acne? For reasons no one completely understands, follicles, or pores, and why they sometimes get blocked. Sebum (oil) which normally drains to the surface gets blocked and bacteria begins to grow. Acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones on the skin's oil glands which leads to plugged pores and outbreaks of lesions commonly called pimples or zits. Acne lesions usually occur on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Nearly 17 million people in the United States have acne, making it the most common skin disease. Although acne is not a serious health threat, severe acne can lead to disfiguring, permanent scarring, which can be upsetting to people who are affected by the disorder. Both whiteheads and blackheads start out as a "microcomedone". Microcomedones become skin blemishes called comedones--either a whitehead or a blackhead.

Acne affects almost everyone more than 90% of all adolescents, nearly 50% of all adult women and 25% of all adults. Crossing gender lines as well as national borders, it's one of the most widespread medical conditions in the world. Yet there's still no cure. Common types of acne include blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. A blackhead is an open comedo or a noninflammatory with a dark top and firmly packed contents. The trapped sebum and bacteria partially open to the surface and turn black due to melanin, the skin's pigment. Blackheads can last for a long time because the contents very slowly drain to the surface. A whitehead is just the opposite of a blackhead in which it is a closed comedo or a non-inflammatory with a white center. The trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin surface.

People who have severe acne cases often go to the doctor to see a Dermatologist which is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin problems.

Other troublesome acne lesions include:
-Papules - inflamed lesions that usually appear as small, pink bumps on the skin and can be tender to the touch
-Pustules (pimples) - papules topped by pus-filled lesions that may be red at the base
-Nodules - large, painful, solid lesions that are lodged deep within the skin
-Cysts> - deep, painful, pus-filled lesions that can cause scarring.

Facts you might not have known about Acne:
  • Acne is not caused by dirt or surface oil. Cleaning the skin too often may aggravate acne and can cause flare-ups. Hand wash skin twice a day with a mild soap, pat dry, and use appropriate acne treatment. One common myth is said that acne is a result of poor hygiene and this is not true.
  • Another myth says that a poor diet can effect acne. Scientific studies have found that there is not a correlation between diet and acne breakouts. In other words, eating pizza, chocolate, or potato chips will not result in a breakout in the morning. However, if you find that certain foods affect your skin negatively, this may be the case of a food allergy so you should try to avoid them.
  • Acne is a treatable condition. There is no need to wait for skin to clear up on its own. If the treatment you're trying isn't working, it may be time to see a dermatologist. There are many acne treatments available.
  • What is the actual cause of acne? Overactive oil glands that are stimulated by the hormone androgen mixing with dead skin cells, cause acne. This is particularly true during the teenage years when androgen production is at its highest. One myth commonly relates stress to the outbreak of acne... this is another untrue myth.
  • While acne is most prevalent in teenagers, due to androgen production during puberty, it is a condition that also affects men and women into adulthood. Some people do outgrow acne. When hormone production regulates, skin clears up. But for other people, acne is a lifelong battle. These cases can be treated.
  • Acne effects teenage boys at a higher rate than girls because of the production of the male hormone androgen. However, these figures do even out in adulthood.
  • Some people may believe a tan will cover up an acne problem. The truth is while a tan may make blemishes and scars less apparent, many acne treatments make skin sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) rays. In addition, suntans cause the skin to increase sebum production to heal damaged skin, causing more acne.