Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms.
Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, and nodules are all types of acne.
It is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans yearly.
It commonly occurs during puberty, when the sebaceous glands activate, but it can occur at any age. It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars.
The glands produce oil and are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands in both males and females.
At least 85 percent of people in the U.S. experience acne between the ages of 12 and 24 years.
Fast facts on acne
Here are some facts about acne. More detail is in the main article.
Acne is a skin disease involving the oil glands at the base of hair follicles.
It affects 3 in every 4 people aged 11 to 30 years.
It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars.
Treatment depends on how severe and persistent it is.
Risk factors include genetics, the menstrual cycle, anxiety and stress, hot and humid climates, using oil-based makeup, and squeezing pimples.
Acne is a common skin problem.
There are many suggested home remedies for acne, but not all of them are supported by research.
Diet: It is unclear what role diet plays in worsening acne. Scientists have found that people who consume a diet that offers a good supply of vitamins A and E and of zinc may have a lower risk of severe acne. One review describes the link between acne and diet as “controversial,” but suggests that a diet with a low glycemic load may help.
Tea-tree oil: Results of a study of 60 patients published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology suggested that 5-percent tea-tree oil may help treat mild to moderate acne.
If you want to buy tea-tree oil, then there is an excellent selection online with thousands of customer reviews.
Tea: There is some evidence that polyphenols from tea, including green tea, applied in a topical preparation, may be beneficial in reducing sebum production and treating acne. However, the compounds in this case were extracted from tea, rather than using tea directly.
Moisturizers: These can soothe the skin, especially in people who are using acne treatment such as isotretinoin, say researchers. Moisturizers containing aloe vera at a concentration of at least 10 percent or witch hazel can have a soothing and possibly anti-inflammatory effect.
A variety of steroidal and non-steroidal creams and gels are available to treat acne, and many are effective.
Mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as gels, soaps, pads, creams, and lotions, that are applied to the skin.
Creams and lotions are best for sensitive skin. Alcohol-based gels dry the skin and are better for oily skin.