Acne affects most teenagers to some extent though the disease is not restricted to any particular age group. Adults in their 20s and even those into their 40s can get it.

By Sushil Kutty (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sat 14 Aug 2004, 1:55 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

What's important is that those with acne should give acne fighting agents time to do their job. And they should be wary of the cosmetics and toiletries they use.

"Acne is influenced by diverse factors and hence various therapeutic modalities exist. With proper treatment effective control of lesions can be achieved and sequelae prevented. It is important to remember that great fluctuations in the natural course of the disease exist," says Dr. Satish Pai, who is dermatology specialist in Belhoul Apollo Hospital, Dubai.

"Acne is multifactorial in origin and several factors affect the severity of acne," says Dr. Pai, "The principle factors involved are increased sebum production, abnormality in the cells lining the follicle , proliferation of the skin bacteria and inflammation."

Sebaceous glands are found together with a hair shaft in a unit called a sebaceous follicle. Normally the cells of the skin that line the follicle are loosely arranged and shed rapidly. In people who develop acne, cells shed and stick together more so, than in people who do not develop acne. "These cells mix with sebum and cause blockage of the follicular opening. Blockage of the opening leads to retention of sebum and initiation of an inflammatory response. In addition, a normal skin bacteria called P acne, begin to multiply rapidly in the clogged hair follicle. In the process, these bacteria produce irritating substances that cause inflammation. Sometimes, the wall of the follicle rupture, spreading inflammation to the surrounding skin. This is how the lesions of acne i.e., blackheads, papules, nodules etc are formed," says Dr Pai.

What are the aggravating factors?

* Genetic factors (family members have bad acne)

* Hormonal factors (higher levels of androgenic hormones)

* Environmental factors like high humidity

* Cosmetics especially certain moisturisers, foundation and pomades

* Petroleum oils

* Certain medications.

How does it manifest? Acne may occur on the face, chest, back and sometimes even more extensively and there are several types of acne spots - non-inflammatory lesions; blackheads; whiteheads; inflammatory lesions; papules (small red bumps); pustules (white or yellow spots) and inflammed nodules (large red lumps).

To wind up, here's some general advice: Do not squeeze or pick at acne; gently wash your face twice a day with a mild soap; use “noncomedogenic cosmetics and toiletries” and give the acne products enough time to do their job.

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