Causes and SymptomsPimples (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Many skin disorders are grouped together as acne. The two most common are acne vulgaris and acne rosacea. Other acne diseases include neonatal acne and infantile acne, seen respectively in newborn babies and infants. Drug acne is a consequence of the administration of such medications as corticosteroids, iodides, bromides, anticonvulsants, lithium preparations, and oral contraceptives, to name some of the more common agents that are sometimes involved in acne outbreaks. Pomade acne and acne cosmetica are associated with the use of greasy or sensitizing substances on the skin, such as hair oil, suntan lotions, cosmetics, soap, and shampoo. They may be the sole cause of acne in some individuals or may aggravate existing outbreaks of acne vulgaris. Occupational acne, as the name implies, is associated with exposure to skin irritants in the workplace. Chemicals, waxes, greases, and other substances may be involved. Acné excoriée des jeunes filles, or acne in young girls, is thought to be associated with emotional distress. In spite of the name, it can occur in boys as well. Two forms of acne are seen in young women. One is pyoderma faciale, a skin eruption that always occurs on the face. The other is perioral dermatitis (peri, around; ora, the mouth), characterized by redness, pimples, and pustules. Acne conglobata is a rare but severe skin disorder that is seen in men between the ages of eighteen and...
(The entire section is 1487 words.)
Treatment and Therapy (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
The majority of acne patients are treated at home with over-the-counter preparations applied topically (that is, on the skin). For years, many of the agents recommended for acne contained sulfur, and some still do. Sulfur is useful for reducing comedones, but it has been suggested that sulfur by itself may also cause comedones; however, sulfur compounds, such as zinc sulfate, are not suspected of causing comedones. Resorcinol and salicylic acid are commonly included in topical over-the-counter preparations to promote scaling and reduce comedones. Sometimes sulfur, resorcinol, and salicylic acid are used singly, sometimes together, and sometimes combined with topical antiseptics or other agents.
While most patients will be helped by the available over-the-counter agents, many will not respond adequately to such home therapy. These patients must be seen by a doctor, such as a family practitioner or dermatologist. The physician attempts to eliminate existing lesions, prevent the formation of new lesions, destroy microorganisms, relieve inflammation, and prevent the occurrence of cysts, papules, and pustules. If the patient’s skin is oily, the physician may advise washing the face and other affected areas several times a day. This has little effect on the development of comedones, but it may improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem. The physician will also use medications that are similar to over-the-counter...
(The entire section is 1447 words.)
Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Most acne vulgaris (about 60 percent) is treated at home. There has been significant improvement in the treatment of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris, so for most of these patients, the condition can be limited to an annoyance or an inconvenience of the teen years. Only recalcitrant cases of acne vulgaris are seen by physicians. Of those cases treated by doctors, the majority are seen by family physicians, general practitioners, and other primary care workers. Severe acne is usually referred to the dermatologist, who is skilled in the use of the more serious medications and the more exacting techniques that are required in treatment.
For at least 85 percent of those experiencing puberty, acne vulgaris is a fact of life. It is a natural consequence of the hormonal changes that occur at this time. It is not likely that any drugs or techniques will be found to avoid acne in the teenage years, as this would involve tampering with a fundamental growth process. It can be expected, however, that in this condition, as in so many others, progress will continue to be made, and newer, more effective, and safer agents will be developed.
(The entire section is 189 words.)
For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Ceaser, Jennifer. Everything You Need to Know About Acne. Rev. ed. New York: Rosen, 2003. Covers the different forms of acne, their causes, and treatment forms in an approachable manner.
Chu, Anthony C., and Anne Lovell. The Good Skin Doctor: A Leading Dermatologist’s Guide to Beating Acne. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. Explores causes and treatments of acne, includes case histories, and discusses the emotional impact of acne.
Litin, Scott C., ed. Mayo Clinic Family Health Book. 4th ed. New York: HarperResource, 2009. One of the most thorough and accessible medical texts for the layperson.
Parker, James N., and Philip M. Parker, eds. The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Acne Rosacea. San Diego, Calif.: Icon Health, 2002. Draws from public, academic, government, and peer-reviewed research to provide a wide-ranging handbook for patients with rosacea.
Webster, Guy F., and Anthony V. Rawlings, eds. Acne and Its Therapy. New York: Informa Healthcare, 2007. Intended for dermatologists. Analyzes the physiology, diagnosis, clinical features, and control of acne.
(The entire section is 159 words.)
Acne (Encyclopedia of Medicine)
Acne is a common skin disease characterized by pimples on the face, chest, and back. It occurs when the pores of the skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.
Acne vulgaris, the medical term for common acne, is the most common skin disease. It affects nearly 17 million people in the United States. While acne can arise at any age, it usually begins at puberty and worsens during adolescence. Nearly 85% of people develop acne at some time between the ages of 12-25 years. Up to 20% of women develop mild acne. It is also found in some newborns.
The sebaceous glands lie just beneath the skin's surface. They produce an oil called sebum, the skin's natural moisturizer. These glands and the hair follicles within which they are found are called sebaceous follicles. These follicles open onto the skin through pores. At puberty, increased levels of androgens (male hormones) cause the glands to produce too much sebum. When excess sebum combines with dead, sticky skin cells, a hard plug, or comedo, forms that blocks the pore. Mild noninflammatory acne consists of the two types of comedones, whiteheads and blackheads.
Moderate and severe inflammatory types of acne result after the plugged follicle is invaded by Propioni-bacterium acnes, a bacteria...
(The entire section is 1999 words.)
Acne (Encyclopedia of Children's Health)
Acne is a skin disorder that leads to an outbreak of lesions called pimples or "zits." The most common form of the disease is called acne vulgarishe rash that affects many adolescents. Acne vulgaris is triggered by the hormonal changes that occur in puberty.
Acne is a condition in which pimples appear on the face, chest, and back. In teenagers, acne usually appears on the forehead, nose, and chin. It is caused by the overproduction of sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that forms in glands just under the surface of the skin called sebaceous glands. Sebum normally flows out hair follicles onto the skin to act as a natural skin moisturizer. The glands are connected to hair follicles that allow the sebum, or oil, to empty onto the skin through a pore.
If hair follicles become blocked by sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, acne is the result. The sebaceous gland units are most commonly found on the face, neck, and back.
During puberty, there are increased levels of the male hormone androgen. High levels of androgen cause excess sebum to form. Sometimes the sebum combines with dead, sticky skin cells and bacteria called Propioni-bacterium acnes (P. acnes) that normally live on...
(The entire section is 2241 words.)
Acne (Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine)
Acne is a common inflammatory skin disease characterized by pimples on the face, chest, and back. It occurs when the pores of the skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and/or bacteria.
Acne vulgaris, the medical term for common acne, is the most common skin disease. It affects nearly 17 million people in the United States. While acne can arise at any age, it usually begins at puberty and worsens during adolescence. Nearly 85% of people develop acne some time between the ages of 12 and 25 years old. Up to 20% of women develop mild acne. It is also found in some newborns.
The sebaceous glands lie just beneath the skin's surface. They produce sebum, an oily secretion that helps to preserve the flexibility of the hair and moisturizes the skin. These glands and the hair follicles within which they are found are called sebaceous follicles. These follicles open onto the skin through pores that allow the sebum to reach the hair shaft and the skin. In certain situations, the glands excrete excess sebum and it cannot be cleared from the pores efficiently. This happens, for instance, at puberty when increased levels of the androgen hormones cause overproduction of sebum. In addition, cells lining the follicle are shed too quickly and begin to clump together. The excess sebum combines...
(The entire section is 2538 words.)