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What is acne?

Acne is a common human skin disease that, while prevalent during adolescence, can affect adults as well. Acne appears most often on the face but it can also appear on the neck, chest, back, and upper arms. Acne develops when naturally-occurring skin oils called “sebum,” along with dead skin cells, clog hair follicles and/or pores in the skin. The clogged pores create an ideal environment for bacteria on the skin, which exacerbates pimples, whiteheads and the other symptoms of acne. Acne is an equal opportunity condition that affects men and women of all races.

Acne symptoms

Acne symptoms vary widely, both in the severity of blemishes and the areas affected. Some people may get a few blemishes such as pimples, whiteheads or blackheads. More severe blemishes include papules, blemishes that contain pus or other fluid, called pustules, and nodules, or firm lesions under the skin. These can all occur in localized areas or in large patches on the face, back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks.

Who gets acne?

Worldwide, acne affects approximately 650 million people, making it the world’s most prevalent skin condition and the eighth most common disease overall. Adolescents are almost guaranteed some level of acne occurrence, with nearly 90% of teens in western populations affected. After age 25, the incidence drops to 54% in women and 40% in men. The rate of acne is lower in rural societies throughout the world; and in the U.S., it is more severe in Caucasians than in African-Americans.

Over 40 million people in the United States suffer from acne at any one time. While most people experience acne during adolescence, anyone can develop acne at any time, particularly newborns. Acne, however, is not strictly associated with age as there are environmental conditions that can contribute to its presence.

Acne treatments

If you have acne, the skin experts at Forefront Dermatology can develop a treatment plan that is safe, effective and personalized for your health needs and the condition of your skin. Forefront offers the latest approaches in acne treatment, including:

Acne extraction – Also called acne surgery, this procedure can give you a jump start to clearing your skin without having to wait 4-8 weeks for medication to begin working.

Benzoyl peroxide – Helps open up clogged pores and kills bacteria in the pores.

Topical retinoids (Retin A, Differin) – These prevent skin cells from sticking to one another so that pores don’t get clogged.

Topical antibiotics – Kill the bacteria that cause red pimples (inflammatory papules) and superficial acne. If you have deeper acne or cysts, oral antibiotics may be required.

Oral antibiotic options include Tetracycline, Minocycline, Doxycycline, Isotretinoin and Accutane

For more information on acne, or to make an appointment, call the Forefront Dermatology office near you. For locations, click here.