National Skin Care Institute

Your information resource about natural skin care and dermatology

Medical Encyclopedia Medical Dictionary Glossary Resources

Look up the word:

Dictionary Images


Dermatlas: Acne Vulgaris
Acne vulgaris

Dermatlas: Acne Vulgaris
Acne vulgaris

All images are
© 2001-05, Dermatlas

Location: Acne mainly develop on the face, chest, and back, they can affect both males and females from ages 10 through 40 and up.

Symptoms: Acne is an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of the skin. Under certain circumstances, cells that are close to the openings of the oil glands block the openings, causing a buildup of oil underneath the skin. Bacteria, normally living on everyone skin's surface, feast on this oil and multiply, causing the inflammatory process of the surrounding tissues.
Acne can show up as any of the following:

– congested pores,
– pustules - develop when the inflammation is right near the surface,
– papule (pimple) - the inflammation is deeper than in case of pustules,
– cysts - are deep pimples,
– whiteheads - develop when the oil breaks though to the surface
– blackheads - develop when the oil becomes oxidized (that is, acted on by oxygen in the air), changing its color from white to black.

The most common type is acne vulgaris, a form prevalent among adolescents. There are several factors known to be linked to acne:

– hyperactivity of the sebaceous (oil) glands,
– increased hormonal activity that occurs at puberty, which causes an overproduction of sebum, the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands (acne vulgaris),
– narrowing of the follicle channel,
– accumulation of dead skin cells, bacteria in the pores,
– usage of medication containing halogens (iodides, chlorides, bromides), lithium, barbiturates, or androgens,
– usage of anabolic steroids,
– unaccustomed heat and humidity (tropical acne),
– exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons, particularly chlorinated dioxins, (chloracne).

– exposure to external oils and grease (greasy, oil-based hair and body cosmetics, occupational use of cooking oils) can worsen the condition of acne.

Possible ways of treating acne:

– Washing the skin (removes surface oils and can prevent acne from spreading).
– Killing the bacteria that are harbored in the blocked follicles.
– Reducing the secretion of oils from the glands.
– Normalizing the follicle cell lifecycle.
– Exfoliating the skin.
– Hormonal treatments.
– Phototherapy.

Note: The first step of treating acne - is to understand what brings it on and what really doesn't (despite what people tell you) and then choose the appropriate treatment. Popping a pimple or any physical acne treatment should not be attempted by anyone but a qualified dermatologist. Pimple popping irritates skin, can spread the infection deeper into the skin and can cause permanent scarring.

Note: Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should carefully read all product packaging. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

Statements and information regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult your healthcare provider before beginning any course of supplementation or treatment.