In my experience, few other dermatologic conditions are surrounded by more myths and misconceptions than acne. Variously called “teenage acne”, “zits”, pimples, or more technically, acne vulgaris, acne is one of the most common problems seen in a dermatologist’s practice. While not life-threatening, it has long been the cause of considerable emotional and physical suffering for millions of people. The scarring that may result from uncontrolled, severe acne can adversely affect the quality of a person’s life well after its active stages have disappeared.
Acne is nothing to joke about. The embarrassment and loss of self-esteem caused by acne and acne scarring can be serious problems. Fortunately, for most people, acne frequently is only a relatively mild condition that can be rather easily controlled by proper facial hygiene and the use of the right over-the-counter preparations.
Facts & Fancies about Acne
The exact cause of acne is not known, but a tendency to develop it seems to run in certain families, i.e. the predisposition for the development of acne appears to be inherited. It has been estimated that about 80 percent of adolescents develop acne to some extent. Acne vulgaris is not an infectious disease caused by bacteria, as some people think, but a kind of inflammation of the skin.
Normally, the lining of your hair follicles sheds its surface layer of dead cells every day. These shed cells are then “washed” to the surface of your skin by secretions of your oil glands. If you are predisposed to acne, your shed lining cells exhibit a kind of increased stickiness. They tend to stick together, form a plug, and clog the openings of your pores. When a plug sits exposed in the pore opening directly at the surface of the skin, it is called an open comedo or blackhead, owing to the fact that the exposed surface of the plug is black in color. When the plug lies below the surface and is not open to the surface, it is called a closed comedo or whitehead.
Category: Oily skin