Acne is a skin condition that can begin when oil and dead skin cells clog up the pores. It manifests in many forms, primarily as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules and deeper, larger lumps and lesions which are painful, and it typically occurs on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Acne most often affects adolescents, starting in the preteens and lasting into the early 20s. About one-quarter of adult women will continue to have adult acne after adolescent acne subsides, and women who did not have it as teenagers can also develop it, particularly in the 30s and 40s when hormone levels begin to change.


There are primarily three causes, namely:

• Too much oil (sebum) in certain skin pores

• Blocked pores from skin cells that behave abnormally, or cosmetic products or creams which block the pores

• Bacteria in the excess sebum that accumulates under the blocked pores. This causes redness (inflammation) and pus.


Many factors can work together to cause acne flare-ups or bad acne, and these include hormones (particularly male hormones, stress hormones, polycystic ovary syndrome), cosmetics (moisturisers, foundations, petrolatum), high humidity and a family history of severe acne.

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