- Acne is a skin condition that consists of pimples, deeper lumps (cysts or nodules), and plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and even the upper arms.
- Acne usually begins in puberty, but the condition is not restricted to any age group. Adults in their 20s, 30s, 40s — even into their 50s — can develop acne.
- Acne is caused by three major factors:
- Overproduction of oil by enlarged oil glands in the skin.
- Blockage of the hair follicles that release oil.
- Growth of bacteria, called P. acnes, within the hair follicles.
- Scientific research has led to many new acne therapies and changes in existing treatment options.
- Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 million to 50 million Americans.
- Nearly 85 percent of all people have acne at some point in their lives, most often on the face, chest, and back.
- By mid-teens, more than 40 percent of adolescents have acne or acne scarring, which requires treatment by a dermatologist.
- In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment of acne exceeded $2.2 billion, including substantial costs for prescription and over-the-counter products.1
Acne care and treatment
- To prevent scars, do not pop, squeeze, or pick at acne; seek treatment early for acne that does not respond to over-the-counter medications.
- Gently wash affected areas twice a day with mild soap and warm water. Vigorous washing and scrubbing can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
- Use noncomedogenic (does not clog pores) cosmetics and toiletries.
- Use oil-free cosmetics and sunscreens.
- Avoid alcohol-based astringents, which strip your skin of natural moisture.
- Use medication as directed and allow enough time for acne products to take effect, which might be six to eight weeks.
See your dermatologist for successful diagnosis and treatment of acne.
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1The Burden of Skin Diseases 2005, Copyright 2005, the Society for Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association.