Acne, officially Acne Vulgaris, is defined as a skin condition where follicles (pores or microscopic holes in the skin) become inflamed. There are two types of acne; pimples and papules. Pimples, also known as pustules, contain pus. Papules are small, inflamed and elevated areas of the skin that do not contain pus. Acne can occur on skin anywhere on the body but is especially common on the face, back and chest. Acne is so common that it is known by a variety of names including zits, blackheads, whiteheads, and breakouts. Although most individuals experience acne at some point in their lifetime there is a wide range of severity. Severe Acne, sometimes referred to as cystic acne, can cause scarring and require prescription treatment.
The cause of acne is rooted in the sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands, found in all humans, secrete oil. Acne occurs when the oil clogs pores and causes inflammation. Individuals with more active sebaceous glands are especially prone to acne (this is genetic). During adolescence the sebaceous glands become very active making acne a common problem during teenage years.
There are an extensive number of acne treatments. For many people acne is greatly helped by special face and body cleansers geared towards washing away the oil that causes breakouts. Skin care is especially important before activities which increase oil production such as exercise. Severe Acne can be helped by a prescription medication which works to suppress the body's oil production. If over the counter acne treatments are ineffective it is highly recommended to visit a dermatologist.