Facts about Acne

Dr. M. Vijayalakshmi, M.D (Peds), M.D (USA), F.A.A.P

"AllForKids Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic"

Content Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Almost all teenagers get acne at one time or another. Whether your case is mild or severe, the information here can help you keep your acne under control.

Causes of Acne

You haven’t done anything to cause your acne. It’s not your fault if you have it. Pimples are caused when oil ducts in the skin get plugged up and then burst, causing redness and swelling. Although there are many myths about acne, the following are the three main factors that cause it.

1. Hormones

When you begin puberty, certain hormones, called androgens, increase in both males and females. These hormones trigger oil ducts on the face, back, and upper chest to begin producing oil. This can cause acne in some people.

2. Heredity

If other members of your family had acne as teenagers, there may be a chance that you’ve inherited a tendency toward getting acne as well.

3. Plugged oil ducts

If you are prone to acne, the cells that line the oil ducts in your skin tend to get larger and produce more oil, and the ducts get plugged. This traps the oil and leads to the formation of blackheads or whiteheads.

The plugged ducts allow germs in the skin to multiply and produce chemicals that cause redness and swelling. This is why simple blackheads and whiteheads may turn red and bumpy and turn into the pimples of acne.

There is not much you can do about heredity, so your best control efforts are those that keep the oil ducts unplugged.


What makes acne worse?


  • Pinching (or “popping”) pimples, which forces oil from the oil ducts into the surrounding normal skin, causing redness and swelling.
  • Harsh scrubbing, which irritates the skin
  • Things that rub on the skin, such as headbands, hats, hair, and chin straps, which also cause irritation
  • Certain makeup, such as creams and oily hair products, which can block oil ducts and aggravate acne
  • For young women, changes in hormone levels brought on by menstrual periods
  • Emotional stress and nervous tension


What doesn’t cause acne?


  • Acne is not caused by foods you eat. Despite what you may have heard, there is no proof that any foods cause acne.
  • It’s not caused by dirt. The black plug in a blackhead is caused by a chemical reaction. It’s not dirt. No matter how carefully you wash your face, you can still have acne.
  • It’s not something you can “catch” or “give” to another person.
Treating acne

It’s important to know that there is no true cure for acne. If untreated, it can last for many years, though acne usually clears up as you get older. There are treatments, however, which can generally  keep acne under control. Please consult your pediatrician.


Important things to remember

Be patient. It takes 3 to 6 weeks to see any improvement. Give each treatment enough time to work.

Be faithful. Follow your program every day. Don’t stop and start each time your skin changes. Remember, Sometimes your skin may appear to worsen early in the program before you begin to see improvement.

Follow directions. Not using the treatment as directed is the most common reason the treatment fails.

Don’t use medication prescribed for someone else.This holds true for all medications, Doctors prescribe medication specifically for particular patients. What’s good for a friend may be harmful for you.

Don’t overdo it. Too much scrubbing makes skin worse.



Finally, many people don’t understand acne and may say hurtful things about it, although acne may bother you, keep in mind it’s only temporary. With present-day treatment, it usually can be controlled.