Acne is the most common skin condition and mainly affects individuals aged between 11 and 30 years, although older adults can also suffer with it. Interestingly, only about a quarter of people with acne seek medical attention and of these, about three quarters wait more than a year to seek appropriate treatment. This is significant as studies have shown a correlation between the increased risk of scar formation with the delayed treatment of acne.
Acne occurs when the pores on your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria. Each pore on your skin is the opening to a follicle. The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. The oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. The sebum keeps your skin lubricated and soft. If you develop acne, this may be because of one or more problems in this lubrication process. Possible causes include too much oil or sebum being produced by the follicle or dead skin cells and bacteria building up in the pore. Acne will appear when the bacteria grows in the clogged pore and the oil is unable to escape. Certain risk factors that may put you at risk for developing acne include hormonal changes, medications and a diet high in refined sugars or carbohydrates such as bread and chips. The most damaging outcome of acne is scarring.