Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/04/2005  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

What is acne?

Acne is a condition, which leads to small papules. It develops commonly on the face, chest, and back and is seen usually in the teen period. It develops around hair follicles and is an accumulation of oil (sebum) produced by sebaceous glands.

What is the cause of acne?

The exact cause of acne is not known. It is hypothesized that when hormone levels increase during puberty, the oil glands produce more sebum. This leads to blocking in the opening of the oil glands resulting in blackheads. If the blockage is deeper, it leads to whiteheads. Superadded bacterial infection makes the skin around the follicle red and inflamed resulting in a bump called a papule. In a few cases, pus may form and that leads to infection of the papule called a pustule. Large, painful swellings may result in scarring and could heal by leaving behind sunken pits or hard swellings.

What is the treatment of acne?

Patients with mild acne, respond to creams and lotions. Various sulfur and resorcinol preparations, benzoyl peroxide-containing preparations, antibiotic lotions (erythromycin and clindamycin lotions) and Vitamin A derived creams or gels are useful.

In patients with severe acne, oral antibiotics and oral isotretinoin may be needed. These medications are used in caution in children and need to be given under the supervision of a doctor.

What are the precautionary measures to be taken to prevent acne from worsening?

The following measures may be useful:

  • It is advisable not to squeeze the spots, especially if they deep as it may result in scarring.
  • If possible oil-based makeup should not be used. Water-based oil-free cosmetics may be useful.
  • The face should be washed with mild soap and water. There is no need for medicated soaps.

Acne Acne 2015-08-01
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