While not life threatening, acne can leave life-long emotional and physical scars — a reminder of the embarrassment and self-consciousness that came with the pimples. No one wants to get zits.
Approximately 90% of all adolescents and 25% of all adults experience acne at some point in their lives. It’s one of the most extensive medical conditions in the world, and is responsible for about 30% of all visits to the dermatologists. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to treat. Traditional therapies have a variety of side effects and sometimes require months to work, if they work at all. Oral antibiotics can cause stomach upset, light sensitivity and yeast infections in women, and studies indicate about 40% of skin bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, making them a doubtful ally in the fight against skin breakouts.
Acne is a common, chronic skin condition caused by inflammation of oil-producing sebaceous glands. Acne usually begins between the ages of ten and thirteen, and persists for five to ten years. Acne breakouts are most common on the face, but they can also occur on the back, shoulders, neck, chest, scalp, upper arms and legs.
Young men and women get acne in equal numbers. Younger males are more prone to severe, longer-lasting forms of the skin condition. Many women suffer from “hormonal acne” — their outbreaks are tied to the hormonal changes related to their menstrual cycle. While hormonal acne typically starts between the ages of 20-25, it can strike teenagers as well. Hormonal acne is sometimes persistent in women in their 30s and 40s.
Even though teenagers tend to call any form of a breakout a “zit,” acne has more than one symptom. A build-up of P. acne’s can cause: