All You Need to Know About Acne

Written by Leanna Serras

Although not life threatening, acne can be an embarrassing and painful condition. Worse, acne is often difficult to get rid of. Here’s what you need to know to understand and treat this disease.

What is Acne?

Acne is a disease characterized by inflammation of the skin. It’s more common in areas of the body where there are many follicles, better known as pores. Oil from the skin, called sebum gets trapped inside the pores, causing them to become blocked, allowing bacteria to grow. This is what becomes pimples and zits -- all of those bacteria that are trapped in the skin.

Causes of Acne

There are many factors that cause acne, some more certain than others. Genetics plays a role in its development, as well as hormonal activity, which is why breakouts are often associated with puberty and menstrual cycles. Skin irritation can turn into acne or make existing acne worse. Subject to more debate are acne's links to stress, diet, hygiene, makeup, and perfume.

Different Kinds of Acne

There are several types of acne, with the more common types (acne vulgarism) classifiable by blemish type into two groups: Non Inflammatory and Inflammatory. Whiteheads and blackheads form the Non Inflammatory category. Whiteheads appear when sebum and bacteria are trapped below the skin’s surface, whereas a blackhead is a whitehead that opens, allowing the sebum to escape to the surface. Inflammatory acne includes papules, which occur when a whitehead never becomes a blackhead and the body sends white blood cells to kill off the clog, and pustules, which form when the white blood cells make their way to the skin's surface. Acne fulminans and nodulocystic acne are other kinds of acne

Acne Treatments

There are a variety of ways to control and treat acne. The treatments are designed to attack the various causes of acne and therefore no single treatment works for everyone or even most people. There are prescription and non-prescription, pills and creams and cleansers and even natural remedies like tea tree oil. Pinpointing the causes of breakouts may be difficult, therefore a multi-therapy approach using various products may be appropriate

Nearly everyone confronts acne at some point in their lives, and it can appear at any phase – from infancy to adolescence to adulthood. Understanding the causes, care and treatment will be necessary for most of us either for ourselves or for loved ones because it has many causes and many cures.