Acne also is known as Acne vulgaris is a long term skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It primarily appears on your face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders.


  • Overproduction of oil (sebum)
  • Irregular shedding of dead skin cells
  • Buildup of bacteria

your hair follicles on the skin produce an oily substance (sebum) that travels through the follicles onto the surface of your skin. When your body produces an excess of this oily substance which when combined with dead skin cells can clog the follicles.

This causes the follicle wall to bulge and produce a Whitehead. It may open to the surface and darken, causing a blackhead. Pimples develop when clogged follicles become infected or inflamed. Bacteria can trigger inflammation and infections resulting in more severe acne.

Risk Factors

  • Hormones - During puberty, hormones increase and cause sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more oil. Pregnancy and oral contraceptives can also lead to acne formation. Check your hormone levels.
  • Certain medications - Drugs containing corticosteroids, androgens, or lithium are known to cause acne.
  • Greasy or oily substance - Cosmetics or lotions can trigger or worsen acne.
  • Genes - You are at increased risk if your parents had acne.
  • Friction or pressure - This includes pressure on the skin from items such as cellphones, helmets, tight collars, and backpacks.


  1. Over-the-counter topical creams - These products may dry up the oil, kill bacteria, and promote the formation of dead skin cells. Helpful for mild acne.
  2. Prescription topical creams - They promote cell turnover and prevent the clogging of the hair follicles. Topical antibiotics kill excess bacteria on the skin.
  3. Antibiotics - A short course of prescription oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation may be used for moderate to severe acne.
  4. Oral contraceptives - Some oral contraceptives may improve acne that occurs in relation to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  5. Cosmetic procedures - Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are most effective when used in combination with other treatments.
  6. Laser and light therapy - Laser treatment damages oil glands, causing them to produce less oil. Light therapy targets the bacteria that cause acne inflammation. 


  • Use a gentle, oil-free cleanser skincare product to wash your face.
  • Use water-based, non-comedogenic cosmetic products, and remove makeup before bedtime.
  • Keep your hair off your face. Don’t rest your hands or objects such as your phone on your face.
  • Limit exposure to sunlight as it worsens acne in some people.
  • Shower after exercise or heavy physical labor. Oil and sweat on your skin can trap bacteria, causing acne.

Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”. Apple Books.