Acne is a skin condition causing spots to form for prolonged periods, varying from mild to severe symptoms. Severe symptoms are commonly known as chronic acne.
Spots can appear as raised bumps on the skin and individually, with chronic cases covering large parts of the body, predominantly the face in many sufferers.
Acne usually appears at the onset of puberty and it is believed it is possibly down to hormonal changes taking place at the time of puberty.
As such it is very common amongst teenagers with a large percentage of girls experiencing acne at this age, well into their teenage years.
Others believe acne is a genetic condition and runs in families, with the offspring of those who have suffered before, being more likely to be afflicted in their teenage years.
Acne usually appears predominantly on the face, back and chest, consisting of spots, usually white heads with the possibility of black heads.
Larger spots appear as raised bumps on the skin, making prominent areas such as face, appear more prone to the symptoms.
There is no cure for acne and it usually disappears by the age sufferers reach their twenties. In a small percentage of adults, symptoms can persist, with many sufferers seeing some form of reduction in the symptoms.
As there is no cure, treatments usually advocate keeping affected areas clean. This is thought to stop the symptoms getting worse and may not actually improve the infliction.
Believing acne is caused by a poor diet has not been proven to be true, as there is no research or evidence which categorically proves this.
It is a common myth, where poor skin care and hygiene such as not washing regularly cause acnes or prolongs it's appearance.
In fact over doing cleanliness can make symptoms worse, such as washing too many times a day, could actually dry out the skin. This in turn could cause spots to burst and ooze pus, causing inflammation around the surrounding areas and increasing the risk of infection.
Trying to remove spots by picking at them or trying to squeeze them, will not necessarily improve the appearance and in all likelihood could actually make the condition worse.
An increase in scarring is possible, if prolonged attempts are made to pick and squeeze spots. To reduce scarring, spots should be allowed to follow their own course of development with regular cleaning, to ensure spots do not dry out prematurely.
There is no conclusive proof that exposure to sunlight or using sunbeds or sun lamps can reduce the symptoms.
Over exposure to sunlight and sunbeds or sun lamps can increase skin cancer risk and therefore professional medical advice needs to be sought to understand the risks involved.
As acne is predominantly thought to be a hormonal condition, that is, it is formed during puberty, it is not considered an infectious condition. It can therefore not be passed from one person to another by close contact.
Medications used to treat acne by reducing it's prevalence have been developed by the pharmaceutical industry.
As with any medication, there are side effects. Professional advice from suitably qualified medical staff such as doctors and other health care professionals is essential.