We know: 1-Minute Lesson on Acne

What is acne?

Acne is the most common skin disease in the U.S. Itís caused by the action of hormones on the skinís oil glands that leads to plugged pores and pimples. The basic acne lesion is actually an enlarged and plugged hair follicle. Most acne occurs on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders.

For most people, acne goes away by the time they reach their 30s.

What are the common causes of acne?

Scientists are not sure, but believe it results from several factors. The first factor is an increase in male sex hormones or androgens. These hormones increase in both boys and girls during puberty. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or birth control pills can also cause acne.

Another factor that appears to contribute to acne is genetics. In other words, you may inherit a tendency to develop acne.

What things seem to contribute to increased acne?

Some factors that can trigger acne are:

  • Hormone levels in girls and women before menstrual periods
  • Hard scrubbing of the skin
  • Friction caused by leaning or rubbing on the skin
  • Air pollution and high humidity
  • Opening the acne blemishes

What are the common treatments for acne?

  1. Nonprescription topical (put directly on the skin) treatments for acne that are available include benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, and sulfur.
  2. Prescription topical medicines include antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, adapalene, azelaic acid and tazarotene and adapalene.
  3. Prescription oral antibiotics (taken by mouth) include tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, clindamycin, erythromycin, sulfur and Accutane.

Note: Any of these treatments may have side effects.

How should I care for my skin?


  • Clean your skin gently
  • Try not to touch your blemishes
  • Shave carefully
  • Avoid sunburn or suntan
  • Choose oil-free cosmetics

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