What is Acne?

  • Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells.

  • It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples, and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.

  • Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. 

  • Depending on the severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin.

  • The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of longterm problems and possibility of scarring.

  • For many women, acne can persist for decades, with flare ups common a week before menstruation. This type of acne tends to clear up without treatment in women who use contraceptives.

  • In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may signal an underlying disease requiring medical attention.


  • Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)

  • Blackheads (open plugged pores)

  • Small red, tender bumps (papules)

  • Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips

  • Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)

  • Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)


  • Excess oil production

  • Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells

  • Bacteria

  • Diet can also affect the severity of acne. Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including skim milk and carbohydrate-rich foods may worsen acne.

  • Stress can also make acne worse.

  • Hormones may exacerbate acne. Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum.

  • Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives also can affect sebum production.

  • Certain medications such as corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium can cause acne to worsen.

Treatments for acne: