- acne vulgaris
What is going on in the body?
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
- hormones, particularly the hormone called androgen
- increased production of sebum, the oily substance within the hair follicles
- changes in the lining of the hair follicles
- bacteria, including organisms that normally live on the skin surface. When these bacteria are trapped within the hair follicles, they can cause infections and inflame the follicles.
makeup and skin care products, which can clog the hair follicles
menstrual cycles in females. A female is more likely to have flare-ups of acne around the time of her period, when her glands are more sensitive to androgens (male hormones, which females also have in smaller amounts).
airborne grease, such as in a fast-food restaurant
routine exposure to products such as motor oil in an automotive shop
- rubbing and friction of the skin by hair, clothing, or sporting equipment
What can be done to prevent the condition?
- washing the face twice a day with a mild soap and patting it dry
- avoiding any picking, squeezing, or popping of comedones, pimples, pustules, and cysts. This type of manipulation actually makes the acne worse.
- selecting skin care products labeled as noncomedogenic, which means they do not clog pores. Look for the noncomedogenic label on makeup, foundation, moisturizers, and creams.
- avoiding prolonged exposure to oil and grease in settings such as fast-food restaurants and automotive shops
- avoiding unnecessary friction from hair, clothing, or sporting equipment
How is the condition diagnosed?
Long Term Effects
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
What are the risks to others?
What are the treatments for the condition?
cleansers, which should be used only if recommended by the healthcare professional Many cleansers may aggravate the acne, especially if the person vigorously scrubs the area.
benzoyl peroxide (i.e., Benzac AC, Benzac W, Brevoxyl, Desquam E, Desquam X, Triaz, ZoDerm), which can be a cream, gel, or lotion. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria that can inflame the hair follicle.
salicylic acid (i.e., Duofilm, Sal-Acid Plaster, Sal-Plant, Salactic), which can be a lotion, cream, or pad. Salicylic acid helps unclog pores and prevent abnormal shedding of skin cells.
antibiotics, such as tetracycline (i.e., Sumycin) and erythromycin, which can be taken orally or applied to the skin. Antibiotics kill bacteria on the skin and within the hair follicles.
retinoids, a class of medications that are derived from vitamin A. Retinoids are used for moderate to severe acne. They work by reducing sebum production, killing bacteria, and making skin growth and shedding normal. These medications are generally applied to the skin.
Isotretinoin (i.e., Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret) is a powerful oral medication used for severe acne. It is currently the subject of investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, for a host of side effects.
- oral contraceptives, which are female hormones used as birth control pills. These may be prescribed to females with acne to offset the effect of androgen on the skin.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
What happens after treatment for the condition?
How is the condition monitored?
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