Acne is a common disorder of the skin caused by inflammation of the skin glands and hair follicles.
There are three main causes of acne:
- Overproduction of sebum
- Clogged pores from dirt and debris of dead skin cells
- Infection from bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) in the sebaceous gland
Sebum blocks pores in the skin to form whiteheads, which form under the skin, and blackheads, which are open to the air. Blackheads are black because the air causes a chemical reaction with the oily debris inside, not because they are dirty. Yeast and bacteria in the skin cause whiteheads to become pimples that are inflamed, red, and sometimes pus-filled.
All teens experience some form of acne during puberty. It is part of the natural process of change in your body. For some individuals, however, acne can be severe and difficult to handle emotionally. Many teens become very self-conscious about their looks, especially when confronted with media ideals that values "clear" skin.
As men and women grow out of adolescence, acne usually gets better. However, acne can sometimes continue after adolescence for some people. Additionally, for some individuals, hormonal changes occurring later in life can cause acne in their adult years.
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Written By: Angela Hu, teen writer
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Questions and Answers About Acne, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
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