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Acne
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Acne
Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disease of the skin, caused by changes in the pilosebaceous units (skin structures consisting of a hair follicle and its associated sebaceous gland). Acne lesions are commonly referred to as pimples, spots or zits.

The condition is most common in puberty, especially among Western societies most likely due to a higher genetic predisposition. It is considered an abnormal response to normal levels of the male hormone testosterone. The response for most people diminishes over time and acne thus tends to disappear, or at least decrease, after one reaches their early twenties. There is, however, no way to predict how long it will take for it to disappear entirely, and some individuals will continue to suffer from acne decades later, into their thirties and forties and even beyond. Acne affects a large percentage of humans at some stage in life.

The most common form of acne is known as "acne vulgaris", meaning "common 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 percolates through the plugged duct onto the surface. In response to the bacterial and yeast populations, the skin inflames, producing the visible lesion. The face, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms are especially affected.

The typical acne lesions are: comedones, papules, pustules, nodules and inflammatory cysts. These are the more inflamed form of pus-filled or reddish bumps, even boil-like tender swellings. Non-inflamed 'sebaceous cysts', more properly called epidermoid cysts, occur either in association with acne or alone but are not a constant feature. After resolution of acne lesions, prominent unsightly scars may remain.

Aside from scarring, its main effects are psychological, such as reduced self-esteem and depression. Acne usually appears during adolescence, when people already tend to be most socially insecure.

Preferred treatments by types of acne vulgaris
Comedonal (non-inflammatory) acne: local treatment with azelaic acid, salicylic acid, topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide.
Mild papulo-pustular (inflammatory) acne: benzoyl peroxide or topical retinoids, topical antibiotics (such as erythromycin).
Moderate inflammatory acne: benzoyl peroxide or topical retinoids combined with oral antibiotics (tetracyclines). Isotretinoin is an option.
Severe inflammatory acne, nodular acne, acne resistant to the above treatments: isotretinoin, or contraceptive pills with cyproterone for females with virilization or drospirenone.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Acne

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