Acne is a common skin condition characterized by blocked pores, pimples, cysts, and other skin lesions. It is especially common among adolescents but can affect individuals of any age. Acne is most often found on the face, back, shoulders, upper arms, and neck.
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Acne develops in areas where skin pores become blocked by excess oils, bacteria, or even dead skin cells. The buildup of any of these materials can cause acne lesions to form. The most common causes of excess oil production in the skin are hormonal imbalances, hereditary conditions, certain medications, and bacteria. Acne may be more likely to develop due to environmental, lifestyle, or hormonal triggers such as humid weather, oil-based cosmetic products, menstruation, and pregnancy.
Symptoms of acne can appear anywhere on the skin. Common symptoms include:
While acne is not life-threatening, it may contribute to emotional distress. Acne can also leave permanent physical scars. Treatments focus on improving the appearance of acne and preventing future acne breakouts.
- Topical medications (retinoids, antibiotics): creams, gels, or lotions applied to the skin
- Oral medications: antibiotics, spironolactone, isotretinoin, oral contraceptives
- Salicylic acid
- Chemical peels
- Steroid injections
- Lasers and photodynamic therapy
Home remedies include using gentle cleansers twice a day and certain over-the-counter acne products. Avoiding irritants such as oily cosmetics or products, protecting your skin from the sun, minimizing physical contact with the affected skin, and showering after physical exertion can also help.
For acne scars, treatments may include punch elevation, subcision, and various cosmetic treatments.