Acne comes in many forms, yet all are called “acne.” Acne lesions can be broadly split into “inflammatory acne” including pimples, cysts, and nodules which lead to scarring and brown spots, and “comedonal acne,” including blackheads and whiteheads. Most acne encompasses both inflammatory and comedonal acne, however clinical presentations can range from limited comedonal acne (such as blackheads on the nose or chin) to widespread severe inflammatory acne leading to disfiguring scarring.

What Causes Acne?

Acne develops when pores in our skin become clogged with sebum, an oil in our skin. Our bodies make more sebum when our hormones surge. This is why puberty can often be the onset of acne. This is also why women often breakout before menstruation. Since hormones fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause, many women in their 40s and 50s also get acne. Acne can uncommonly persist throughout adulthood, although for most people, acne improves with age.

Getting Rid of Acne 

Thanks to advances in medicine, today virtually every case of acne can be controlled. Treating acne can prevent additional breakouts and scars, and improve the patient’s quality of life. People living with acne often suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Acne can even discourage people from pursuing certain careers or social activities. When acne is under control, a person’s confidence grows, and anxiety and depression can diminish. There are 7 basic groupings of acne medications, although only 6 are available to men (excluding hormonal regulators such as birth control pills).