Does Everybody Suffer From Acne?


By Donald Saunders

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Although not everybody will suffer from acne the simple truth is that the vast majority of us will have acne to a greater or lesser degree at some point in our lives and a look at just who gets acne and why makes interesting reading.

Acne occurs when a skin pore gets clogged because of an excess of skin oil (sebum) and a build-up of dead skin cells. This then leads to the growth of bacteria and other circumstances which promote acne.

Hormones known as androgens play a major part in the production of sebum and, as these hormone levels increase dramatically during our teenage years it is no surprise to find that most cases of acne appear at this time. Acne normally appears in girls at about the age of 11 and in boys around the age of 13, which reflects the average age at which girls and boys enter puberty.

Once acne develops it tends to be more of a problem for boys than girls, since boys produce considerably higher levels of androgen hormones than girls. Teenage acne is not however generally severe, although about four out of every ten cases of teen acne are severe enough to justify a visit to your dermatologist.

But acne is not simply confined to the teen years and is also seen in young and mature adults where the balance tips in favor of men and acne is more commonly seen in women. Once again hormones play an important part in the presence of acne and much of the adult acne seen in women is linked to the monthly hormonal cycle. Indeed, it is estimated that over forty percent of women in their twenties and early thirties suffer to some degree from acne related to their menstrual cycle.

Surprisingly enough acne can also appear at very young ages and it is not at all uncommon for babies to develop small whiteheads which often last for anything from about three to six weeks and then disappear spontaneously. It is also not uncommon to find acne developing at older ages and it is sometimes seen in people in their fifties or older. In these cases however acne is often caused by drugs which are being taken for a number of common illnesses which many of us develop later in life.

Finally, it is worth noting that acne affects people of all races and, although it is certainly more prevalent among Caucasians, it is also commonly seem in blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other races.

Understanding the causes of acne naturally helps us to find a suitable cure but it also helps to dispel the many myths which surround acne, such as the belief that it is causes by a lack of hygiene or by eating too much chocolate. Of course these and other myths are still widely circulating and so the necessary job of education still needs to continue.

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