Acne comes in a variety of familiar forms and affects nearly everyone at some stage in their life, particularly in their teenage years. But, what is acne?
Acne can be the scourge of youth. But what is acne?
Technically, acne is a common skin disease that occurs when your pores get blocked and bacteria forms inside them.
The inflamed, red bumps that sometimes form can be painful and even painless white pimples can be very unattractive.
In the surface of your skin there are pores, tiny openings mostly containing a hair follicle.
Deep down inside the pore, near the base of the hair follicle, there are sebaceous glands that produce sebum, a natural type of oil that helps keep your skin flexible and protected.
The hair grows through to your skins surface, while the oil or sebum oozes out the side and is spread around the surrounding area.
Skin cells around the pore grow, then die and are removed by washing or rubbing. But that process can be interrupted when your pores close and bacteria forms inside them.
The closing of your pores and the growth of bacteria cause acne.
The white pimples that sometimes form are usually a combination of dead skin cells, white blood cells and bacteria.
The trapped bacteria forms pus, which often creates an inflamed, red area around it.
The term pus is short for pustule, formed by a type of acne that results when the follicle wall bursts and your white blood cells rush into the affected area as part of your healing process.
What are Blackheads?
When the tiny bumps or spots appear black they’re called blackheads.
These are an un-inflamed form of acne that forms when the dead skin and other material pokes through the surface. The dark color isn’t the result of contact with dirt on the skin, it’s actually a combination of dead skin cells and sebum that have oxidized. Oxygen in the air causes a chemical reaction that turns them black. A little rust forming on iron, for example.
What are Whiteheads?
When tiny bumps or spots appear white they are called whiteheads.
Whiteheads form when dead skin and sebum don’t break through the skin, but simply push it up, forming small white bumps.
One type of whitehead is known as ‘milia’.
Normally dead skin cells will get washed off or simply fall off your skins surface. But they can get trapped underneath the surface and this type of acne is common among infants, but can also affect people of any age.
All these variations of acne are known by the general medical term comedones, and whether the spot formation is open or closed is part of the clinical difference between them.
As acne develops it can either form papules, nodules or cysts.[lists style=”help-circled” color=”#8224e3″]
- What are Acne Papules – these form when the walls holding the hair follicle burst near the surface. They’re small and don’t contain pus.
- What are Acne Nodules – these are hardened lumps under the skin, resulting from a break at the base of the follicle.
- What are Acne Cysts – these are larger, reddened bumps. They’re soft, but can be very painful.
Naturally, while it’s helpful to know what acne is, the most important thing is to be able to treat it.
In order to do that, it’s necessary to know what type of acne you have. So, how do you confirm what type of acne you have, see … Types of Acne & Severity
What is Acne? Acne is something almost all of us suffer from at some age. It’s a horrible, depressing, irritating, frustrating part of life. But acne is mostly, just a stage in our development, a short time in our growth. For most of us it does pass and is just a part of growing up.