Acne is a skin condition in which pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and/or red, inflamed patches of skin caused by underlying cysts can appear on the skin of the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and back.
Acne occurs when the pores on the surface of the skin become clogged by dead skin cells and an oily substance called sebum. Acne is most common in teenagers, but anyone can get acne, including babies and adults. Acne tends to run in families and may be triggered by:
- Hormonal changes related to puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy, birth control pills, or stress
- Greasy or oily cosmetic and hair products
- Certain drugs (such as steroids, testosterone, estrogen, and phenytoin)
- High levels of humidity and sweating
Depending on its severity, acne can lead to emotional distress and scarring of the skin. Starting effective treatment early lessens the possibility of physical and emotional harm.