Acne is the single most common skin disease affecting mostly teenagers but it can affect anybody in any age group. It is a skin disorder which affects girls two to three years earlier than boys but there is no gender bias for this disorder and it affects almost every teenager in one form or the other. Acne has other names too which are pimples,blemishes and zits. It is estimated that 30% of teenagers suffer severe acne warranting medical intervention.
Fortunately,majority of acne cases are mild in nature and responds to medication and vanish after some time. But for some,acne is severe with wave after wave of lesions which are disfiguring and causes anxiety and stress which aggravate the situation further. Acne scars and blemishes can have a devastating effect on the person’s life causing depression and low self esteem there by lowering the quality of life. Acne sufferers are more prone to suicidal impulses due to stress and depression.
There are oil secreting glands called sebaceous glands situated under hair root follicles of the skin that produce a thick wax like oil to keep the skin healthy. This oil is called sebum. Sometimes these glands produce more oil than necessary due to hormone fluctuations in the body and also due to other factors. This excess production of thick wax like oil blocks the hair pores and creates a perfect breeding ground for acne bacteria.
There are about four important factors that contribute to the development of acne. They are production of excess sebum by the sebaceous glands,blockage to the outflow of sebum at the mouth of hair root canal,inflammation of follicles due to the blockage,and infection and proliferation of bacteria ‘P.acne’ in the trapped sebum and hair root canal.
The sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce more sebum by the increased circulation of hormone androgen,the production of which is high during puberty. Because of this increased sebum production,the micro organism population residing and thriving in the sebum(their main source of food)explodes. These organisms are acne bacteria,staphylococcus and other yeast like micro-organisms. This population explosion of these microorganisms causes infection resulting in acne. Acne is the resulting condition of many interacting processes. Acne sufferers have a higher rate of sebum production than non-sufferers.
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