Acne is a disorder of the hair
follicles and oil glands (sebaceous glands). The oil glands secrete oils (sebum) to
the skin moist. When the glands get clogged, it can lead to pimples and cysts.
Acne is very common. People of all
races and ages have acne. In fact, most people in the U.S. between ages 11 and 30
be affected by it. Even people in their 40s and 50s can have acne. But acne most often
starts in puberty. During puberty, the male sex hormones (androgens) increase in both
boys and girls. This causes the glands to make more oil.
Normally, the oil produced travels
through the hair follicles to the skin. But dead skin cells can plug the follicles.
can block the oil. When follicles become plugged, skin bacteria start to grow inside
follicles. Inflammation and pimples then develop. The most common types of pimples
(closed comedones). These pimples are sealed over
and have a small white pus-filled top.
(open comedones). These pimples have a small black
opening at the top. These pimples are black, but the color is not from dirt. It's
from the process of oxidation when the oil is exposed to air.
Papules. These are sore, small, pink
Pustules. These are pimples that have
pus on the top and are red on the bottom of the lesion. These are signs of
Nodules. These are hard, large, painful pimples that arise deep in the skin.
Cysts. These are pus-filled, deep,
painful pimples that often leave scars.
The basic acne lesion is called a comedo.