What is acne?
Acne can affect people from ages 10 through 40 and up. Acne can show up as any of the following; congested pores, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, pustules, or cysts (deep pimples). These blemishes occur wherever there are many oil (sebaceous) glands, mainly on the face, chest, and back. Acne is commonly referred to in slang as zits.
You can do a lot for your acne if you understand what brings it on and what really doesn't (despite what people tell you)--and if you know what you can get at a drugstore or cosmetic counter without a prescription. For tougher cases, you should consult a physician.
What causes acne anyway?
No one factor causes acne. As physicians understand it, acne happens when oil (sebaceous) glands come to life around puberty, when these glands are stimulated by male hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands of both boys and girls. The oil glands, which are located just beneath the skin, continuously produce and secrete oil through openings in the skin. The oil lubricates and protects the skin. Under certain circumstances, cells that are close to the openings of the oil glands block the openings. This causes a buildup of oil underneath the skin. Bacteria, which live in everyone's skin but generally mind their own business, feast on this oil, multiply, and cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed.
If the inflammation is right near the surface, you get a pustule; if it's deeper, a papule (pimple); deeper still and it's a cyst. If the oil breaks though to the surface, the result is a " whitehead." If the oil becomes oxidized (that is, acted on by oxygen in the air), the oil changes from white to black, and the result is a " blackhead."
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