Acne is a common chronic skin condition that affects sebaceous glands and hair follicles. It causes enlargement and blockage of the follicle which results in inflammation of the area. Acne can affect anyone and can occur at almost any age, however, acne is mostly seen within young adults. Acne is caused by a combination of factors which include: family history, hormone imbalances, acne bacteria, and occlusion of hair follicles. Patients may experience acne flares due to PCOS, certain medication use, occlusive cosmetic products and a diet that is high in dairy and sugar.
Acne is normally found on the face but can also form on the neck, back and chest. It can look like blackheads and whiteheads or be an inflamed pustule. In severe acne cases, one may develop nodule- like areas and cysts. This condition can cause pigmented areas and scarring as well.
In most cases, acne can be diagnosed just by observing the area of concern, however, if its features appear to be atypical, skin swabs can be taken or hormonal blood work can be completed as well. Treatment for acne includes topical creams and gels such as retinoids, medicated washes, oral contraceptives if applicable as well as other oral medications including antibiotics and oral retinoids.