Acne is the most common dermatological disorder. Nearly everybody is affected, albeit to a different degree. Acne develops during puberty only to virtually disappear in mature age; this however, is not a universal rule since some individuals may cope with acne throughout their lives. The main cause of acne consists in excessive production of sebum by sebaceous glands. When a spot is formed, the sebum blocks the skin pores, and thus leads to inflammation of blocked hair follicles; situation may be worsened by inappropriate facial hygiene which may lead to more serious lesions. The function of sebaceous glands is regulated by the hormones, and thus minor skin lesions may be observed whenever hormonal metabolism is disturbed.

Acne is manifested mainly by comedones and pimples within the upper parts of the body, mainly on the face. Other locations susceptible to acne lesions include back and torso as well as shoulders and neck. The first stage of response to the sebaceous gland canal being blocked is the formation of comedo – a non-inflammatory, epidermal lesion presenting as a dark spot (blackhead). The second stage consists of protruding, red pimples indicative of inflammation. The most serious type of acne lesion is cystic nodules with inflammation affecting deeper layers of skin and manifested by a pus-filled pustula. The pustulae should not be squeezed, as acne lesions may leave permanent, unsightly scars.

Acne is always a superficial skin disorder and does not lead to more serious disorders. In a vast majority of cases, its origin is genetic and treatment methods include mild cleansers and hydrating agents, particularly during excessive keratinization. Particularly recommended are antibacterial ointments containing vitamin A (available without prescription). In more severe cases – for example when acne does not subside despite the patient has already passed their puberty – dermatological consultation is required. A specialist should recommend appropriate treatment, sometimes involving administration of antibiotics, as well as provide some nutrition counseling since acne may be caused by inappropriate diet.

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