Acne is an
inflammatory skin disease which affects the tiny pores which cover
the face, arms, back and chest and the oil glands attached to
an abnormal response in the skin to normal levels of the male
hormone, testosterone, in the blood. Both men and women have
testosterone circulating in the blood, but in the acne sufferer,
this hormone has a profound effect on the skin. This abnormal
response is self limiting and eventually acne does get better
without treatment, but there is no way of predicting how long this
can take, and it may take years or even decades! Acne can also leave
scars which are permanent and are easier to prevent than to treat.
the skin, the disease attacks two structures:
- The pore
through which the hairs emerge from the skin
- The oil or
blockage in the pore restricts the flow of oil onto the skin
surface. This results in solidification of the oil which fills the
hair channel forming a blackhead. The black of the blackhead is not
due to dirt, but a change in pigment in the blockage in the pore. If
the partial blockage becomes complete, the oil builds up around the
hair and hair root and becomes infected with bacteria normally
present on the skin. The bacteria breaks down the oil to very
inflammatory chemicals which cause redness, pus formation and pain -
inflammation is deep and severe, or if the spot is manipulated or
squeezed, the pus can burst deep into the skin rather than onto the
surface. This deep-rooted inflammation and infection results in
scarring and cyst formation.
commonest in adolescents with a peak in the late teens. Acne may
however, appear for the first time in the mid-twenties or even later
and persists in a significant number of people into their 40s or
even their 50s.
affect acne? The simplest answer is no. The myth persists that
chocolate and fatty foods make acne worse. In a very small
percentage of people, these foods do make their acne worse, but in
most people, diet is not important. A good balanced diet is,
however, important for general well-being.
Remember... Always consult your doctor if you need advice
about, or treatment for your acne.