Acne is that common yet unsightly skin condition that’s found mostly among those in their adolescent years. While acne can technically be used to refer to a number of different skin conditions, it’s usually meant to refer specifically to acne vulgaris, the more common form. This is where skin blemishes appear on the face and the upper neck, and occasionally on the forearm and other parts of the body.
Common acne is made up of non inflammatory comedones and papules. For cases that are more severe, one may find inflammatory comedones, papules, and nodules. In common, everyday language, acne is referred to as pimples. Another common term for acne is zits. Whichever word is chosen, they all refer to the same thing.
In and of itself, acne isn’t a harmful disorder. Though it can potentially scar the skin, especially when not treated properly or abused through scratching and picking, it doesn’t have any lasting health effects that are associated with it. Since it is a physical blemish though, and adding to that the fact that it is most prominent, though not limited to, people who are in their vulnerable adolescent years, acne has been linked to mild and severe forms of depression.
What’s interesting about this condition is that it does appear during a specific time in people’s lives. While a large minority of individuals suffers from milder forms of acne throughout much of their adulthood, very few have to experience severe acne for any lengthy period of time. It’s really just teenagers who see the worst of it. This has sparked questions as to why that is.
At first glance, some would believe that it is a typical virus that affects people. Without a close look or knowledge about its true causes, many have led themselves to believe that acne is similar to a pox virus. In that way, they believe that it is caught like any other contagious condition. That it doesn’t appear in adults serves as evidence that, like a pox, people develop an early immunity to it.
The truth is that it is not a virus at all. Acne is actually the result of hair follicle blockage. Whiteheads, blackheads, and other forms of pimples form as a result of that blockage and the resulting enlargement of certain glands.
Why does that happen? The truth of the matter is that no one really knows the initial causes of acne. There are theories, but nothing that has been solidly proven. That’s why there are many medications available that claim to treat acne, but not that can all out prevent it from ever occurring in the first place.
What is known is that the causes of acne spring directly from the increase in male sex hormones—which both genders develop. As this is most common throughout puberty, the condition is mostly seen during that time. Stress, genetics and some forms of food have been linked to acne in various ways. For the most part, these things are actually being linked to the production of hormones, and not specifically to acne. In the future, a more direct and specific cause may be discovered and, should this ever happen, people can certainly expect to see an onslaught of more specialized treatments.