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April 14, 2017 | Dermatology
Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, is a condition caused by clogged hair follicles. As oil and dead skin cells plug up these follicles, pimples and bumps can result.
Teenagers are the most common group of acne sufferers, with a reported prevalence between 70 and 87 percent. There are several ways to treat and prevent acne, however, some methods may not be right for your case. Your dermatologist can help create a treatment plan that works for you.
These can appear all over the body—on the face, back, shoulders, arms, chest, neck and buttocks.
Some symptoms aren’t always physical. Acne can be a big influencer in low self-esteem, especially in teenagers, who struggle with social pressures about the way they look. Low self-esteem can lead to falling grades and loss of focus, or even clinical depression in some cases. In fact, studies have found that teens with what they perceive as “bad” acne are more likely to consider suicide.
There are four primary factors that cause acne:
Both oil and dead skin cells can build up in the skin’s pores and result in clogged hair follicles. This creates an area where bacteria can thrive and reproduce, leading to blackheads and whiteheads. A pimple occurs when blocked follicles become inflamed or infected.
There are also a few additional factors that can worsen or trigger existing cases:
While some factors are known to worsen or trigger acne, many factors are believed to do so, but have very little effect in reality. Common myths of acne-causing factors include:
The first part of treating acne is grading it. There are four grades of acne: Grade 1 is mild and Grade 4 is severe. Your dermatologist will then determine a treatment plan that can help control it and prevent chances of scarring or other skin damage. In some cases, basic over-the-counter medications can accomplish this.
For more severe cases, your dermatologist may recommend certain prescription medications. These may include:
Your doctor might also suggest one of several therapies in addition to medications:
If your acne causes scarring, there are a few ways you can help minimize it. Each method depends on individual cases, and you should consult your options with a dermatologist.
There are several habits and practices you can take to help prevent acne, either before you experience it or between major breakouts.
If you’re dealing with acne that won’t respond to over-the-counter medications or if you are struggling with its negative symptoms, speak to your doctor about what options are best for you.
“Acne: Overview.” American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#overview
“Acne.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/basics/definition/con-20020580
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.