What is acne? How and why does acne develop? And, most importantly, what can be done to treat acne? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit, or what is commonly called the hair follicle or pore. It is classified as a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. Acne is characterized by the presence of pimples or "zits", blackheads, and whiteheads. Frequently, acne appears on the face, neck, chest, back, and upper arms of the human body. Acne is formed by blocked pores on the human skin. Pores could get blocked due to oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Blocked pores create an ideal environment for a bacterium called Propionibacterium to flourish, which eventually leads to blackheads or whiteheads.
There are many myths about what causes acne. Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, but research has shown that foods seem to have little effect on the development and course of acne in most people. Another common myth is that dirty skin causes acne; however, blackheads and other acne disorders are not caused by dirt. The exact cause of acne is unknown, but doctors believe it results from several related factors. One important factor is the increasing levels of hormones. These hormones, called androgens (male sex hormones), increase in both boys and girls during puberty and can cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Another factor is heredity or genetics. Researchers believe that the tendency to develop acne can be inherited from parents. For example, studies have shown that many school-age boys with acne have a family history of the disorder. Stress can also cause the... [continues]
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