December 11, 2015
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Acne is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that involves the hair follicles and oil glands. A variety of spots appear on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and back. Acne is most prevalent in those ages 16 to 18 due to higher levels of sex hormones after puberty. Sex hormones stimulate the sebaceous (oil) glands at the base of the hair follicle, causing them to enlarge. Hair follicles are tiny canals that open into the skins pores on the skin surface. The follicles normally carry sebum and keratin from dead skin cells to the surface. Inflammation and debris lead to blockage of the skin pores. While acne is most common in adolescents, acne can affect people of all ages and all races. About 15% of women and 5% of men continue to have acne as adults. Acne can be effectively treated, although response may sometimes be slow. Topical agents that can be obtained without a prescription include; Antiseptic washes with benzoyl peroxide, Mild salicylic acid preparations to exfoliate and unplug follicles, Benzoyl peroxide cream/lotion/gel, and Hydrogen peroxide in a stabilised cream. Topical agents which require prescription include antibiotics such as Clindamycin or Doxycycline as well as Retinoids like Tretinoin. General principles of treatment are; Try not to pick, Avoid applying oily cosmetics such as foundations, Wash affected areas twice daily, Apply acne products to all areas rather than just spot treat. This often causes dryness particularly in the first few weeks however the skin ususally adjusts. Apply an oil-free moisturizer if the affected area is peeling. Microdermabrasion can also help.