Womens Health

Acne - The Teenage Nightmare


How many times has a parent heard the woeful complaint of their teenager over the state of their skin? While acne affects people of all ages, all races and both genders, it appears most frequently on the faces and bodies of young people during their teen years. About 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 are affected with acne. One quarter of these people have acne on other parts of their bodies as well as their face, most frequently on their backs or necks.

What Is That Spot?

Acne is a common skin condition which usually appears on the face but can show up on other parts of the body, like the back, shoulders, neck and chest. The proper name for acne is Acne Vulgaris and it is characterized by lesions which break out on the skin. These lesions may appear as whiteheads, blackheads, or cysts which form as a result of clogged pores. The reason acne is most commonly seen during puberty is because that is the time the body produces massive supplies of an oily substance called sebum which is caused by the male hormone testosterone. Sebum is the lubricant of the skin and hair and a necessary bodily function. However, during puberty the body goes into overdrive and produces more sebum than it can use. The excess oil can clog pores and leave the skin feeling slick and oily.

Time of Life

Puberty also brings on over production of follicle cells. As the cells die, they can very quickly build up and combine with the oil to form whiteheads. The redness and swelling which is consistent with whiteheads is caused by bacterium which gathers due to the mixture of dead cells and oil - now we have a pimple. The most common area for pimples to appear is an area called the T-zone of the face. This area includes the forehead, the nose and the chin, although acne can appear on the cheeks and on other parts of the face as well. The second most common area for acne is the back, then the neck, chest and shoulders.

There Is An End

As a rule, by the time a person is in their 20s the problem has cleared up. However, it is possible that acne may persist through the adult years. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription acne treatment available to control and prevent further breakouts. Some people never experience acne until they are adults. For instance, pregnancy can bring on a bout of acne as can the use of certain drugs.

TLC Is Vital

Acne has a pronounced affect upon self-image and can create some problems for teens especially. Feelings of depression and a loss of self-confidence can cause some young people to withdraw from interacting with others and even cause feelings of anger or frustration. While talking about acne can be difficult for a teen, it is important for them to have support and understanding and to know that there is someone who is available and willing to help if and when they need or want it.

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