Acne is a skin condition which results in the appearance of spots, pimples or blackheads on the face although other areas of the body can be affected. It usually occurs during the teenage years although it can persist into the twenties or thirties.
There is more than one type of acne but the most common type is ‘acne vulgaris’. Acne can range from a few spots on the face to more severe forms in which areas of the body are affected as well. Severe acne can result in scarring.
There is a type of acne called inflammatory acne in which angry red spots or sores develop which can lead to scarring if left untreated. It has been known to develop in people in their twenties or thirties who have never experienced it before.
Acne occurs when excess oil (sebum) produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands combines with dead skin cells shed from the top layer of skin (epidermis). This combination of oil and dead skin cells results in a chemical reaction in these cells which turn black in colour – hence the characteristic ‘blackhead’.
Other types of acne include whiteheads, spots and pus-filled sores. Severe forms of acne include cysts and nodules which can result in acne scars.