What is Acne?

Acne is the most common skin problem in the United States. It happens when the pores in our skin get clogged by a combination of oil (called sebum), dirt and dead skin cells. Often, a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is present and begins to multiply. Our bodies try to fight off the bacteria, which can lead to redness and swelling (inflammation) around the pimple. When inflammation reaches deep into the skin, an acne cyst forms. This is the most severe type of acne and can lead to scarring.

Sebum production surges when our hormones do, like during puberty, which is why acne often occurs in teenagers. However, adults can also develop acne. In fact, a growing number of adult women have acne.

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