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 years of age and older, but can be earlier as puberty starts earlier or later in some cases. The oil, known as sebum, in the glands around the base of a hair follicle can't reach the surface of the skin because the pores, tiny holes on the skin that allow it to reach the surface of the skin are blocked, plugged, or clogged by dead skin and oils.

This plug/pimple is called a comedone which may be open, known as blackheads, or closed, known as whiteheads. These may be infected by bacteria on the skin which may result in red painful bumps or 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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