An explanation of what acne really is

Acne as a skin condition is a seemingly everlasting inflammatory syndrome of the pilosebaceous units. These units are better known as hair follicles and attacehd sebaceous glands - structures found over most of the body, but especially numerous on the face, neck, chest and back.

Acne is the most common skin disorder seen worldwide. Acne results from the activity of the sebaceous glands, which are connected to follicles that enclose a fine hair. Acne is generated when sebaceous glands produce a surplus of sebum and this sebum subsequently forms a plug in the hair follicle. The blockage prevents newly produced sebum from getting the surface of the skin through the pore. The sebum plug also allows the bacteria propionibacterium acnes, that is regularly found in human skin, to proliferate. The growth of P. acne is causes swelling, redness, heat, and pain.

Both inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions characterize acne as a skin condition. Inflammatory lesions include papules, sore wounds that generally come out as small, pink bumps on the skin and can be tender to the touch; pustules, or pimples, which are papules crowned by pus-filled lesions that may be red at the base; and nodules, big, painful, solid lesions that are lodged deep within the skin. Noninflammatory lesions embrace comedones, which are skin pimples. A comedo can be either a whitehead or a blackhead.

If the plugged follicle remains under the external layer of the skin, the lesion is termed a closed comedo, or whitehead. They frequently come out on the skin as small, whitish swellings. But, if the plug expands and pushes through the surface of the skin, it is termed an open comedo, or blackhead.

Acne concerns most teenagers to some extent. Yet, this disorder is not exclusive of any age group; adults in their 20s, and even in their 40s, can get acne. Acne, as a skin condition, generally sets off from the age group of twelve to seventeen in its mild form. It acquires a more severe form in mid-teens; severe enough to the point of making 40% of affected adolescents see a physician for treatment. Acne appears in both sexes; however, teenage boys are more likely to progress through to severe cases. Adults as well are unable to get away from this disease. 20% of adults, especially women, experience mild to moderate forms of acne in their thirties and beyond. For women, menarche can also be a common time when acne develops.

Categorizing of acne as a skin condition is necessary to establish the correct therapeutic approach. Mild acne can be entirely comedonal or papulopustular. Moderate acne is characterized by many comedones, with the presence of some pustules and a few nodules, but no enduring scarring. In severe acne there are several papulopustules and many nodules as well as marked inflammation and scarring. Finally, very severe acne is characterized by the presence of grouped comedones, several deeply located nodules, and serious inflammation and scarring.

Even though acne is not a life threatening health condition, it undoubtedly has a great impact on self-esteem and emotional well-being. Not only does acne exert influence on a personal level and how people feel about themselves, but also to a degree socially as well. It can turn into a powerful wound that may leave people scarred not only physically but also psychologically. So, even though acne is a skin condition, successful healing can radically improve a person’s quality of life.

In order to treat acne properly, a comprehensive medical and family history should be taken. Certain medicines may worsen acne and interact with the prescribed drugs, and a family history of severe acne suggests a more extended course. The extent of the disease, past and present responses to therapy and skin type are also important issues that will guide therapeutic conclusions.