What is acne?

Also known as: pimps, zits, blackheads, whiteheads, acne vulgaris

Acne is a very common skin problem of children and teenagers (mostly 11 plus years of age, but can be earlier as puberty starts earlier, or later) where the oil (sebum) of the glands around the base of a hair follicle can't reach the surface of the skin because the pores (tiny holes) that allow it to reach the surface of the skin are blocked (plugged/clogged) by dead skin and oils. This plug/pimple is called a comedone which may be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). These may be infected by bacteria on the skin which may result in red painful bumps (sores) called pustules, or present as papules, nodules or cysts.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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