Acne, in the medical world, is most commonly known as Acne Vulgaris. Vulgaris is a Latin word that means ‘common’. Common – being the operative word, hints that almost everybody suffers it at some point of their life. Its occurrence usually starts when an individual hits puberty. It is the age between twelve and twenty-five. According to some statistics, nine out ten teenagers have acne. During the puberty stage, the sebaceous or oil glands become active. The sebaceous glands are roused to action by adrenal glands that produce male hormones. You should know that adrenal glands exist in both the male and female body. So when we say ‘male hormones’, it is not only limited to be created in a man’s body – though acne breakout is a more common case for teenage boys. Sebaceous or oil glands are produced by a follicle or sac attached at the middle part of the base of the hair.
Production of oil by the sebaceous glands is a natural occurrence as a human body matures. A harmless bacterium named ‘P. Acne’ resides in our skin. But when sebum is trapped and not released in the skin surface, P. Acne breeds on it. When a large number of this bacterium multiplies, it causes inflammation. When this oil gland is infected or inflamed, acne appears.
There are three cases of acne – mild, moderate, and severe. Mild to moderate cases includes the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads, also known as comedones and small spots of pimples. While moderate to severe cases, involves the appearance of larger spots of pimples and inflammation filled with pustules or commonly called as ‘pus’.
Blocked pores cause comedones. Too much sebum or oil plugs the pores, thus the appearance of blackheads and white heads. If the pore stays small, the clog results to the appearance of light-colored contusion which is relatively small in size. This is called whitehead. If the opening of the pore is large, it results to the appearance of a blackhead. It is a flat mark with a dark center. Pimples or papules usually develop from these comedones. The surface below these clogged pores swells resulting to lumps that are reddish in color and sometimes containing pus.
Acne does not only develop on face. Though it is commonly seen there, it can also be found on the neck, chest and back. If you are not familiar with the T-zone, that is the area of your forehead and nose which is the most oily part of the face. That is where acne usually develops. While its development on back, chest and neck is usually caused by sweat and friction when wearing tight clothing.