Acne is a general term for pimples and deeper pustules that are clogged pores. If severe enough acne can leave permanent scars.
Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder of the skin’s sebaceous glands and hair follicles that affects about 80% of people between the ages of 12 and 24. During puberty high levels of hormones are produced in both girls and boys. This leads to the production of large quantities of sebum. Sebum is an irritant that can clog the pores and form a pimple which may become infected and form a pustule. Hormones don’t go away after adolescence. Many women still get premenstrual acne from of the release of progesterone after ovulation.
Acne is a disease that affects the skin’s oil glands. The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to the oil glands under the skin. These glands make an oily substance called sebum. The pores connect to the glands by a canal called a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. A thin hair also grows through the follicle and out to the skin. When the follicle of a skin gland clogs up, a pimple grows. Most pimples are found on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Acne is not a serious health threat but it can cause scars.
Causes of Acne
The exact cause of acne is unknown, several related factors are:
§ Hormonal activity supposed to be responsible, such as menstrual cycles and puberty.
§ Increase in hormones called androgens (male sex hormones), which causes sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum.
§ Hormonal changes related to pregnancy can also cause acne.
§ Another factor is heredity or genetics. Researchers believe that the tendency to develop acne can be inherited from parents. For example, studies have shown that many school-age boys with acne have a family history of the disorder.
§ Accumulation of dead skin cell.
§ Bacteria in the pores, to which body becomes allergic.
§ Skin irritation or scratching of any sort will active the inflammation.
§ Starting or stopping birth control pills.
§ Heredity (if your parents had acne, you might get it too).
§ Some types of medicine.
§ Greasy makeup.
In some patients, contributing factors may be:
Pressure: In some patients, pressure from helmets, chinstraps, collars, and the like can aggravate acne.
Drugs: Some medications may cause or worsen acne, such as those containing iodides, bromides, or oral or injected steroids (either the medically prescribed prednisone or the steroids bodybuilders or athletes take.) Most cases of acne, however, are not drug-related.
Occupations: In some jobs, exposure to industrial products like cutting oils may produce acne.
Pathophysiology of Acne
§ Excessive secretion of oils from the sebaceous glands accompanies the plugging of the pores with naturally occurring dead skin cells (corneocytes) blocking hair follicles.
§ The accumulation of these corneocytes in the duct appears to be due to a failure of the normal keratinization process in the skin which usually leads to shedding of skin cells lining the pores.
§ Oil secretions are said to build up beneath the blocked pore, providing a perfect environment for the skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes and the lipophilic (oil/lipid-loving) yeast Malassezia to multiply uncontrollably.
§ Under the microscope, however there is no evidence of pooled trapped sebum. Indeed the oil perolates through the plugged duct onto the surface.
§ In response to the bacterial and yeast populations, the skin inflames, producing the vision lesion.
§ The face, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms are especially affected.
Acne is a group of skin rashes with different causes named as:-
It is most commonly experienced around puberty, typically of the face and shoulders / chest.
A red rash predominantly on the face.
Acne keloidalis nuchae (pseudofolliculitis nuchae)
A rash caused by shaving.
Acne conglobata (Hidradenitis suppurativa)
Chronic abscesses or boils of sweat gland and hair follicle; in the underarms, groin, buttocks and under the breasts in women.
Acne caused by use of cosmetics.
An extreme form of acne conglobata.
Acne cause by starting or stopping medicine.
A rash seen on the cheeks, chin, and forehead of infants.
Acne caused by exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons such as dioxins or PCBs.
Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disease of the skin, which is caused by changes in the pilosebaceous units.
It is the most common form of acne. Large number of teenagers suffers from this, during the period of puberty. In most of the cases it tends to disappear or atleast decreases after one reaches early twenties. There is no fix prediction how long time it will take to disappear entirely,
Signs and Symptoms of Acne
Acne typically appears on face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and the areas of skin with the largest number of functional oil glands. People with acne frequently have a variety of lesions, some of which are shown in the diagrams below. The basic acne lesion, called the comedo, is simply an enlarged and plugged hair follicle. Acne can take the following forms;
Whiteheads: These are created when the openings of hair follicles become clogged and blocked with oil secretions and dead skin.
If the plugged follicle, or comedo, stays beneath the skin, it is called a closed comedo and produceswhite bump called a whitehead.
Blackheads: These are similar to whiteheads, but are open to the skin surface and darken.