Acne is a common medical condition that most typically occurs in teens and young adults. However, many adults suffer from it. In fact, over three-quarters of people aged 11 to 30 experience breakouts. Acne can take many forms including blackheads, whiteheads, painful cysts and tender pimples. In most cases, it appears on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The pores in your skin connect to oil glands via canals called follicles. Oil travels within follicles to bring dead skin cells to the surface. Pimples can result from clogged follicles.  

What causes acne?

Overactive oil glands, blocked follicles and bacteria growth within hair follicles are the biggest culprits. A variety of factors can come into play, although hormonal changes often play a big role. Despite popular belief, chocolate, stress and greasy foods do not cause this skin disease. However, having a family history of acne might make you more likely to develop it yourself.

Treating Acne

Regardless of the cause, acne treatments aim to heal existing pimples and prevent future breakouts and scarring. Dermatologists recommend seeking treatment early on for best results. There are also certain factors that can make acne worse. This includes fluctuating hormones, pollution, high humidity and more. Picking at skin or popping pimples can also lead to scarring. In addition, using oil-free sunscreens and cosmetics are advised. People with the condition are advised to use gentle skin cleansers and abstain from direct sunlight. (Some acne medications can make you more susceptible to sunburn.) Scrubbing hard on the skin and frequent face washing can actually make it worse. The AAD reports that 40 to 50 million Americans battle acne. Statistics from 2004 reflected that the total cost associated with acne treatment landed at over $2 billion. Source: the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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