Acne

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Acne
Classification and external resources

Acne of a 14-year-old boy during puberty
ICD-10 L70.0
ICD-9 706.1
DiseasesDB 10765
MedlinePlus 000873
eMedicine derm/2

Acne is an infection of the skin, caused by changes in the sebaceous glands. The most common form of acne is called acne vulgaris, which means "common acne". The redness comes from the inflammation of the skin in response to the infection.

Oils from the glands combine with dead skin cells to block hair follicles. Under the blocked pore, oil builds up. Skin bacteria can then grow very quickly. This infection makes the skin become swollen and red, which becomes visible.

The face, chest, back, and upper arms are most common places for acne to happen.

Acne is common during puberty, when a person is turning from a child into an adult, because of high levels of hormones. Acne becomes less common as people reach adulthood.

Effects of acne[change | change source]

People of all ages can get acne, although it occurs more commonly in adolescents. Acne can affect people physically, psychologically, and socially.

Physical effects[change | change source]

Acne causes scarring, and acne pustules can be very painful and sensitive.

Psychological effects[change | change source]

People suffering from a bad case of acne, especially adolescents, can develop low self-esteem which can lead to depression.

Social effects[change | change source]

Low self-esteem issues can make a person suffering from acne withdraw from many social events. It makes developing new personal relationships (especially love relationships) more difficult. Low self-esteem can also cause problems with career advancement as the person may find it difficult to present a positive attitude. This may sometimes even lead to suicide.

Causes of acne[change | change source]

Exactly why some people get acne and some do not is not completely known. These can cause acne, or make it worse:

  • Hormonal fluctuation
  • Hyperactive sebaceous glands
  • Stress
  • Many dead skin cells staying on the skin
  • Bacteria in the pores
  • Skin irritation or scratching of any sort

Aspirin reduces inflammation which in result, reduces facial redness due to acne.

Acne myths[change | change source]

There are many incorrect ideas about the causes for acne. Many people believe these false ideas:

  • Diet. It is possible that eating different foods can help clear acne for some people. But the relationship between food and acne has not been proven. Chocolate, chips, sugar, milk, seafood and other food do not cause acne. The effect of diet varies from person to person, no scientific evidence has been brought forth to prove or disprove that diet has any effect on acne.
  • Sex. Some people think that both celibacy (no sex) and masturbation are causes for acne. This is not true. Although sexual activity produces hormonal changes in our bodies, these are completely normal and should have no effect on acne.

Treatments[change | change source]

Many things are sold to treat acne, the most popular being benzoyl peroxide. Many of these things have not been scientifically proven to help acne. However, a mix of commercial and homemade treatments can help with acne for various reasons.

  • Killing the bacteria that grow in the blocked follicles. This can be done by ingesting antibiotic medication, or by putting antibiotics on the skin. Antibiotics act quickly and are a powerful way of temporarily getting rid of acne. When the body develops a resistance to the antibiotics, the bacteria returns stronger than before.
  • Removing oil on the skin can be done by taking drugs that contain Vitamin A. Accutane is the name of the most famous treatment using massive quantities of Vitamin A.
  • Removing dead skin cells can be done by treatment with salicylic acid. This encourages the skin to peel away the top layer of cells.

Popping a pimple should not be done by anyone but a qualified dermatologist. Pimple popping irritates skin, can make the bacteria spread, and can cause scars. If you must pop a pimple yourself, it is advised to apply warm water to the area before popping it and to wash your hand thoroughly before beginning so as to avoid spreading bacteria via the hands. Applying hot water will open up the pores and reduce the damage because it will require less force to pop it.

Epidemiology[change | change source]

There are 650 million people in the world with acne, which is around 9.4% of the global population.[1] More females are getting acne than males (9.8% versus 9.0%).[1] Acne affects 40 to 50 million people in the United States (16%) and approximately 3 to 5 million in Australia (23%).[2] Acne affects people of all ethnic groups.[3][4]

Acne scars[change | change source]

Bad acne often leads to bad scars where the skin has the shape of a volcano. It is difficult and expensive to treat acne scars.

These are some ways acne scars can be treated:

  • Dermabrasion. The top layer of the skin is taken away to make the scar look less deep. It makes the scar less visible, but does not remove it completely. Many treatments may be needed.
  • Laser resurfacing. A laser is used to burn off the top layer of the skin.
  • Deep penetrating light therapy. A non-laser, non-ultraviolet light therapy that can be used to improve mild to moderate acne. A blue light causes the breakdown of certain chemicals within the acne bacteria, destroying the cell walls.[5]
  • Punch excision. The scar is raised with a punch tool and the edges are smoothed together.
  • Chemical peels. Different types of acid are put on the skin so that a smoother layer can form.
  • Subcision. A hole is made between the scar and the skin under the scar. Blood can pool under the scar, and raise it to the surface of the skin.

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Vos, T (2012 Dec 15). "Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010.". Lancet 380 (9859): 2163-96. PMID 23245607 .
  2. White GM (August 1998). "Recent findings in the epidemiologic evidence, classification, and subtypes of acne vulgaris". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 39 (2 Pt 3): S34–7. doi:10.1016/S0190-9622(98)70442-6 . PMID 9703121 .
  3. http://www.acnehealer.com/3-ways-to-treat-nodular-cystic-acne-at-home/ 3 Ways to Treat Nodular Cystic Acne At Home
  4. Shah SK, Alexis AF (May 2010). "Acne in skin of color: practical approaches to treatment". J Dermatolog Treat 21 (3): 206–11. doi:10.3109/09546630903401496 . PMID 20132053 .
  5. Cussell, Dr Garry. "Acne Treatments Blue Light Therapy". http://www.facialrejuvenation.com.au/acne-treatments.html. Retrieved 12 April 2010.