Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples, and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.
It is caused by excess production of oil by skin glands, excess hormone production and clogged hair follicles. It is worsened by stress.
Symptoms include the typical blackheads and white heads as well as scarring in certain cases.
Acne medications work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection or reducing inflammation — which helps prevent scarring.
- Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a first-line treatment for mild and moderate acne due to its effectiveness and mild side-effects (mainly skin irritation). In the skin follicle, benzoyl peroxide kills P. acnes by oxidizing its proteins through the formation of oxygen free radicals and benzoic acid.
- Other treatment options include retinoid, salicylic acid, antibiotics, chemical peels, phototherapy and the oral contraceptive pill.
- Cleansing skin with a good quality cleanser and using sun protection can also help manage symptoms.
Source: Mayo Clinic, Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
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