Acne is a skin disorder in which the sebaceous glands are blocked. The blockage causes the area to become inflamed and infected. The infection leads to the pimples and cysts, called acne. Some people have more oily skin or have more frequent breakouts than others. Acne can be controlled, and some dermatologists prescribe medications to sufferers.
Sebaceous glands produce the oils that coat the hair as it grows from the follicle. Dirt and other environmental factors can block the pores where the hair follicle grows. The blockage causes inflammation. It also allows bacteria to grow within the blocked follicle. The bacterial growth causes infection, which is why you may see puss within a pimple. Eventually, the pimple bursts, but its side effect is irritation on the skin and possible scarring.
The characteristics of acne are small, tiny bumps on the skin. Some of these bumps are larger and stem from deeper areas in the skin follicle. Infection causes the puss, often called a whitehead. Blackheads appear when dead skin trapped in the pore reacts with the air and turns black. Acne also causes lesions in the skin that are red areas surrounding the infected pore. The bumps on the skin can be painful when touched.
Genetics play a role in acne development. Some children begin at puberty and the condition persists to adulthood. Oily cosmetics that use animal fats exacerbate oily conditions on the skin, which can lead to development of acne. Some medications increase oil production in the skin, so acne has a higher chance to form. Medications like lithium, phenobarbital, corticosteroids and androgens cause acne. Using headbands, hats or other clothing that cover the skin can encourage acne.
Although many people claim that eating certain foods induce acne, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that nutrition does not affect acne. Even eating chocolate does not cause acne. The University of Maryland Medical Center does acknowledge that food allergies can play a role in acne outbreaks. If you have outbreaks after eating certain foods, you should avoid those foods.
Treatment includes hygiene, medications and surgery for the scars. Washing the face and avoiding oily cosmetics reduces the number of outbreaks. If a dermatologist feels it's necessary, you may be prescribed antibiotics to kill the bacteria infecting the skin. Some patients develop pits or scars from acne outbreaks. Cosmetic surgery or other treatments can remove these areas of tissue buildup.
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