Acne is a condition characterized by a chronic inflammation of
the pilosebaceous unit. Occurring primarily on the face, neck,
chest, and back; acne is the most common skin disorder suffered
by 70% of the population during their teenage years. For some, acne
can persist well into adulthood and women may experience a redevelopment
of acne during menopause.
This disorder features both inflammatory
lesions, such as papules, pustules, and nodules; and noninflammatory
such as open and closed comedones. In order to establish the
most appropriate treatment, acne should be graded for its severity.
Consequently, mild acne is purely comedonal
or with a few
mild papulopustules. Then, moderate acne is characterized
a greater amount of comedones, with presence of some pustules
and some small nodules. Moderate acne does not leave residual
scarring. In severe acne, there are a good number of papulopustules
and nodules may be found with deep inflammation as well as scarring.
In very severe acne, comedones are grouped together with numerous
profound nodules, serious inflammation and scarring.
Although overall health is not at risk, acne is
a common skin disorder that can influence the psychological stability
of any individual. It has
been frequently associated with depressive and anxious states. In this sense,
effective treatment of acne may lead to the improvement of an
individual’s quality of life and self-esteem. Often acne is
dismissed - usually by those who have not experienced acne - as
not meriting concern. Consequently, people may not seek effective
acne treatment, but rather suffer in silence. This need not be the
case. Acne cannot be cured, but it can be brought under control
and effectively treated.
There are many factors that may lead to acne. Since
acne is a common skin disorder, it initially involves the pilosebaceous
units, which is composed of the hair
follicle and the surrounding sebaceous glands. When sebum production is triggered
by hormonal alterations, the hair follicle is obstructed by means of excessive
proliferation of folliclular keratinocytes, and abnormal cell differenciation.
This leads to the development of visible comedones that
characterize this common skin disorder.
In such an environment, propionibacterium acnes, the resident baterium of
the hair follicle, produces inflammatory agents that elicit an
inflammatory response which generates the papules, pustules,
and lesions that typify more severe types of acne.
Although acne is thought to be only the result
of overproduction of androgens in puberty, this is not the only
may be a genetic underlying
cause leading to a disorder in hormones, and therefore, leading to the development
acne. This is the reason why consultation with a physician is crucial.
Patients should also be aware of a series of acne myths and misconceptions
that instead of helping, may seriously worsen acne. Acne is
not the result of dirt, as
is usually thought. Nor is it true that it is exclusive to teenagers.
In addition, acne is a common skin disorder, but it is not
just a superficial
Further misconceptions include claims that acne is caused by
certain foods, cosmetics, or stress.
Treatment of acne depends on how severe it is. Mild treatment
approaches involve the use of topical formulations contianing
benzoyl peroxide, sulfur compounds, or azelaic acid as active
ingredients. Antibiotic agents and topical retinoid drugs may
be used when the acne is more significant. For severe
acne, oral retinoid drugs may be use to good effect. However,
individuals should not administer topical or systemic retinoids
but follow the recommendation
of an experienced
A final point that should be taken into account is that although
acne is not curable, there are innumerable products and procedures
both the appearance of the skin and the social and emotional state of
those who suffer it. There is no need for individuals to suffer from
significant acne - it is possible to control it with an effective
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how and why it occurs, and how it can be effectively treated.
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