Acne is a very common skin condition that occurs most in young people during their adolescent years. Some forms of this disease, however, can be quite severe and can leave lifelong consequences in form of ugly scars.


There are several factors whose interaction leads to acne appearance. Key roles in the formation of acne play some bacteria causing skin inflammation like Staphylococci and bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes. Sex hormones have also an influence and therefore acne occurs during puberty when concentration of sex hormones in human body increases. Worsening of acne often happens during prolonged stress periods and by poor nutrition (expect negative impact of sweets such as chocolate and of milk). Genetics is also a predisposition which makes some people prone to acne emergence. Impaired quality of skin, including acne troubles, has been described by people with Cushing's syndrome.


There is an excessive production of sebum in the sebaceous glands by acne patients. These glands are located mainly in the face and in torso. Sebum causes blockage of the glands which is quickly followed by bacterial infection. The initial phase is not visible, advanced stages look like blackheads and pimples with purulent content. Large pus filled vesicles can transform into abscesses and during healing skin scars may emerge.


Acne can be diagnosed at first sight. When there is a more severe case of acne it is advisable to attend to a dermatologist who can prescribe the best treatment.


It is important to reduce the risk factors. That means changes in diet, especially in sweets and chocolate restriction. In spring and summer months appropriate sunbathing is advisable because it also improves skin quality. Skin hygiene is of a great importance – regular cleaning of face and other affected areas. Already visible deposits can be squeezed out but always through a clean cloth to prevent further infection by skin bacteria from hands. In more severe forms of acne a pharmacotherapy is possible. Antibiotics are the basis of therapy. They are usually administered in form of skin solutions and ointments. Additional drugs are retinoids (compounds derived from vitamin A) which also improve skin quality. By some adolescent girls it may be advisable to prescribe a hormonal contraception to stabilize sex hormones levels to diminish acne symptoms.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources