What Is Acne?

What Is Acne?

Acne is a problem for over seventeen million people in America. It is so common among young teens, who are going through the life changes of puberty, that is has become looked on as a rite of passage from childhood through the teenage years into adulthood. That doesn’t mean you should just ignore it, but that you need to learn how to deal with it. The way to begin is to understand what it is.

Acne, which encompasses multiple skin conditions, is caused when the pores in a person’s skin become blocked by dead skin or body oils. These oils, called Sebum, normally do the job of keeping your skin or hair from drying out. The most common acne in teenagers is called Acne Vulgaris. This is found mainly on the face, upper back and shoulders. In teenagers it is the hormonal changes that seem to send the wrong messages and so wind up encouraging an overproduction of the body’s oils.

The clogged pores actually become infected and that is when the pimples come up. When this happens there are one of four results. The infection either comes out as a whitehead, a blackhead, a pimple or a cyst. Although most people see these as the same each one has its little differences. A whitehead is a caused when the pore gets blocked but still remains closed. A blackhead is just the opposite and is a blocked pore that has remained open. A pimple, which usually looks pink or reddish, is what happens when the blocked pore bursts allowing everything that is blocking it to get under the skin. Finally, a cyst, this is not unlike a pimple but is what happens if the pore bursts deeper under the skin. The deeper the infection the more swelling there is likely going to be.

Now that you know what is on your face, shoulders or back what are you supposed to do about it? To begin with when you wash your face, or wherever the acne is, do it gently using warm water and a mild soap. This can help to contain the infections and often will go a long way to getting rid of the problem. Dermatologists will tell you not to try popping them, don’t squeeze them or pick at your acne.. This can be very difficult when you feel that it’s the only thing that might improve the way it looks. But skin doctors claim that by doing that you are only risking spreading the infection from the oils in your hands. This also can potentially make for scarring.

One other cause of acne can be a reaction to certain medications and for this one it doesn’t matter how old you are. Some of the medicines that can be a problem are seizure medications or drugs that effect hormone levels. If you have this side effect talk to your health care provider. They may be able to suggest another medication that can do the same thing without causing this reaction.