What is Acne?
Definition of acne
Acne is one of the most common skin diseases.
This chronic pathology is characterised by persistent or recurrent red lesions or small swollen blotches on the skin, usually called pimples; these can become inflamed and develop pus. In general, they appear on the face, on the chest, shoulders, neck, chest, and upper back, especially among teenagers.
Manifestations of the disease
Acne appears when the hair follicles are obstructed by oily secretions produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin.
This causes the pores of the skin to become clogged with oil and “black heads” can appear. These are tiny, black spots that are caused from open pores and secretions from the sebaceous glands. Some pimples develop underneath the skin, known as “white heads”. However, both types can become inflamed, painful and swollen.
The pimples, sometimes filled with pus, are pustules and develop from blackheads or whiteheads. The inflamed, liquid-filled nodules that form under the skin and can become very large (several centimetres) are cysts. The excessively red cheeks and nose are a sign of rosacea, a disease similar to acne that affects adults (especially women) after 30 years of age.
Profile and age of patients with acne
Even though acne remains a typical teenage disorder, about 20% of cases appear in adulthood. In addition, acne tends to be more serious in people who have oily skin.
The pathology affects both sexes, although the most severe cases are observed in boys during adolescence. Women are more prone to mild or moderate forms of acne, usually after 30 years of age, and are more susceptible to rosacea.
Acne and Adolescents
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 adolescents are affected by acne, which occurs in a more serious form for 10 to 15% of the cases.
Acne appears before puberty, with increased secretions of oil on the face (sebum), sometimes also on the back or chest. The most common form of acne in adolescents is microcystic acne, which should not be underestimated as it can progress to more severe forms or leave significant scars; moreover, from a psychological point of view, acne represents a huge disorder in adolescence.
Some forms (acne neonatorum and acne infantum) occasionally affect newborns and young children, usually boys.
Hormones and puberty
Acne in adolescents is the expression of an alteration of the balance of the body and the mind. During puberty, continuous hormonal changes occur in the blood, in order to reach complete physical and sexual development. Thus, during given periods, hormonal imbalances are created and promote the appearance of acne.
Psychological disorders that may occur in adolescents also influence the production of hormones and then contribute to aggravate and maintain acne.
How to combat acne in adolescence
The onset of acne in adolescents requires not only a medical intervention, but must also be a period of reflection for the whole family. It is important for family members to be understanding and open because the presence of acne can deeply upset a teenager and cause them to feel low self-esteem
It is important to visit a dermatologist who can determine the type of acne and its causes in order to prescribe the appropriate treatment.
One of the basic rules to remind teenagers is to not to remove acne lesions so to avoid increasing inflammation and leaving scars. In addition, a healthy and balanced diet is a great help as prevention of acne.
Last updated: 16/01/2019
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